Genocide talks a work in progress

10 Sep 2017 16:20pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 10 SEP (NAMPA) – A huge task in Namibia’s genocide dialogue with Germany is to impart to modern Germany the gravity of the damage and loss suffered by Namibians over the erstwhile war atrocities.
Namibia’s Special Envoy on the matter, Zed Ngavirue feels progress has been made in this regard.
He told Nampa on Thursday it has been a continuous process of making Germany understand the depth of the genocide issue, for them to ultimately take responsibility for it.
“To reconstruct our society is not an easy thing and Germany must participate in a meaningful way. At this point, there is a lot of potential for them to do the right thing,” Ngavirue said.
The chief negotiator said in the sixth meeting with Germany later this month on 28 and 29 September, Namibians will have to prove their case for an official apology and reparations.
The deliberations that commenced last year, so far served to exchange views and present factual evidence and documents on the case for genocide.
“It is still a little ambiguous at this stage, but the process has come a long way from Germany refusing to acknowledge genocide and similarly dismissing the call for reparations.”
Namibia's latest position is to recognise as genocide the massacre of tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people by German troops between 1904 and 1908. It would also move to tender an acceptable apology.
“It took them a while to get there and there were obvious problems in how they see ‘genocide’ and the issue of reparations.”
Ngavirue said Namibia’s monetary claim of over N.dollars 400 billion was a normal procedure in reparation negotiations.
“It is an amount arrived at through investigations and could come in different forms.”
Of the ideas passing through the minds of the relevant Government committees are issues around land and capital projects such as water and desalination plants in drought-stricken areas.
“There is nothing concrete yet as there has to be justice to the visible poverty of Namibians,” Ngavirue said, touching on how his extensive travels through southern Namibia impacted on him the suffering of many once-thriving communities.
He said Germany at one point contemplated improving the Namibia-German Special Initiative Programme (NGSIP) implemented in rural areas of communities that have suffered during the German colonial period.
“They knew the special initiative was not adequate and wanted to improve it, but even that shows that they do not understand the depth and scale of the devastation and damage of their actions.”
Once they do and take responsibility, the process of the development of a people can begin, Ngavirue said.
The former diplomat was in Keetmanshoop on invitation by //Kharas Governor Lucia Basson to directly update the region’s traditional leaders, regional councillors and chairpersons of village councils on the genocide talks.