Skulls repatriation process irks Rukoro

30 Aug 2018 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 30 AUG (NAMPA) – Ovaherero Traditional Authority Chief, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro has strongly condemned the procedure of the third repatriation of Namibia human remains as organised by the German and Namibian governments.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Berlin, Germany on Wednesday, Rukoro said the affected Nama and Herero groups were sidelined and not part of the initial programme to speak and had to request for it.
“Apart from being told how to behave by the German government as dictated to our ambassador here, we were also told to not say things that would embarrass the two governments,” he said.
Rukoro fumed that the German government again chose not to have the handover ceremony in their own government buildings, but rather in a Lutheran church that equally committed genocide against the two groups.
He noted that the first repatriation in 2011 was done at Charité Hospital instead of a government building and the second in top secrecy.
“The two governments have been negotiating and planning the return of these remains together, why would the government of Germany now shift the handing-over to the church as if all its buildings in Berlin are too small to accommodate 450 people?” he wanted to know.
Rukoro further said the organisers barred 45 members of German non-governmental organisations and solidarity movements from attending the memorial service.
The traditional leader further noted that the people excluded were the ones that have been supporting the repatriation and made the German public more aware of the genocide.
“Our staunch supporters who were responsible for discovering these remains are kept outside while we are locked up and standing next to members of the very church that has committed genocide against our people and they too have admitted it,” Rukoro charged.
The former government attorney then advised that in future, proper and sincere consultations be considered by involving the affected groups, particularly the Nama and Herero communities.
Rukoro pleaded with the German government to take full responsibility for the genocide it committed against the two Namibian communities, rather than “abdicating its responsibilities to their accomplices (the churches) and for it to become mere spectators”.
“This is an insult to us, as descendants of the victims of the first genocide of the 20th century,” he concluded.