Rukoro adamant to be included in genocide negotiations

26 May 2016 19:10pm
WINDHOEK, 26 MAY (NAMPA) – The OvaHerero and Nama leaders have no other business to discuss with German leaders other than the official recognition and apology for the genocide committed against them, Paramount Chief of the OvaHerero Traditional Authority (OTA), Advocate Vekuii Rukoro says.
He made the statement during a meeting between the affected communities’ leadership and the German Parliamentary Committee for Economic Cooperation and Development in Okahandja on Wednesday.
The German Parliamentarians were on a visit to Namibia from Monday to Thursday.
Rukoro told Nampa on Thursday the meeting was held for the German delegation to hear their views on the 1904-1908 genocide committed against the OvaHerero and Nama communities in and around Okahandja by the then German colonial forces.
About 80 000 OvaHerero and 20 000 Nama people were killed in the genocide.
Rukoro said the meeting is the “cornerstone that will reshape” the historic ties and further build lasting bilateral relations among nations of the world.
He then accused German Ambassador to Namibia Christian Schlaga of wanting to put “blinkers on their eyes” and thus predetermine the view and history of the affected communities.
'This a gross mistake,” he stated.
“We have absolutely no interest in discussing Germany and Namibia’s bilateral agreements on development aid. After all, this has by enlarge not served the interest of our communities locally and in the diaspora, whose ancestors bore the brunt of Germany’s terror and dispossession.”
Rukoro said they are left with other option but to take the route of arbitration to the International Tribunal in The Hague and in addition, launch an international campaign to have Germany declared a pariah state in a similar fashion as the then notorious racist South African apartheid regime.
The Namibian Parliament on 19 September 2006 unanimously adopted a motion tabled by the late OvaHerero Chief Kuaima Riruako, calling for reparation negotiations with Germany on the genocide and in November 2015, Government appointed Zed Ngavirue as the special envoy to lead deliberations with the German government on the genocide.
The OvaHerero leader told this agency that the traditional authorities are united outside Government’s structures which appointed Ngavirue.
“We told them (German delegation) where we stand and why we don’t participate in this collaboration of an advisory structure of Government.”
He said they insist on a trilateral framework, where the two governments as well as representatives of the victim communities discuss and resolve the matter together.
Rukoro reiterated that the inclusion of traditional authorities in the negotiations is imperative to a lasting solution.
“The ball is squarely in your court. Go and rethink your government’s current mode of engagement with the Namibian government knowing that the Herero and the Nama people in Namibia and in the diaspora will leave no stone unturned, and thus prepare for a change of paradigm to engage us. There shall be no lasting solution negotiated about us without us,” he told the German delegation during their meeting on Wednesday.
However, Schlaga said the two governments have agreed to deal with the issue of reparation on a government-to-government level, which according to him is the only way to achieve the desired results.
He said during a media conference in Windhoek on Thursday, there is hope to have negotiations concluded by the end of 2016.
Dagmar Wöhrl, the head of the German delegation that visited numerous high-ranking Namibian government officials, dismissed allegations that Germany is trying to direct negotiations, and said it is necessary to find a common language which may lead to a lasting solution.