Rukoro defiant over reparations fight

05 Feb 2018 05:20am
BETHANIE, 05 FEB (NAMPA) – The Nama and Herero communities have made history by being the first two native groups to drag the German government to court for reparations, according to Ovaherero Paramound Chief Vekuii Rukoro.
Rukoro made these remarks as part of a big delegation of the Ovaherero community that formed part of 1 000 mourners who attended the funeral of the 17th leader of the !Aman Nama people, Chief David Frederick, at Bethanie in the //Kharas Region on Saturday.
He said they dragged the German government, “kicking and screaming” into an American court just over a week ago, after that country’s refusal on three occasions to accept the legitimacy of the legal action that pertains to the genocide committed against these communities between 1904 and 1908.
“Three times, Namas and Hereros flew to New York back and forth after selling goats and sheep. We do not have taxpayer money to steal and use. The Germans said they will not listen to small Hereros and Namas in a foreign court,” Rukoro said.
He said the demand for reparations for the 20th century genocide of the two groups by Germany would continue.
“Chief Frederick wanted dignity and reparations for his people and that is what we will get, no matter how long it takes. We will not give up. Some have given up and gone to the Germans with a shopping list, which was rejected,” Rukoro said, referring to the Namibian government.
He said this list included affordable houses, solar energy, vocational training centres and farms to be bought and distributed through Agribank.
“Well, we have news for them. The shopping basket of the Nama and Herero people includes an unqualified apology, acknowledgement and liberation from the German government. They cannot oppress people in their own country for more than 100 years and ignore their call for justice.”
Rukoro said the Namibian government was wasting its time and the money of taxpayers by deliberating with the German government.
“The Germans must come and talk to us with the Namibian government and hear what the affected people want. We are not prepared to be represented by others when we can speak for ourselves.”
The Ovaherero leader urged the two communities to pick up the proverbial AK47 and continue the fight started by Frederick and late Ovaherero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako.
“Our two fathers started the fight 10 years ago and we cannot disappoint them. Chief Frederick left the legacy of being the only Nama chief in the last 100 years fighting against the Germans to hold them responsible for atrocities committed against the whole Namas,” Rukoro said, adding that the war is not yet over as 'the Germans are not yet defeated.'