Germany wants to wrap up genocide negotiations

15 Jul 2019 18:30pm
WINDHOEK, 15 JUL (NAMPA) – Germany’s Bundesrat President, Daniel Günther, on Monday told President Hage Geingob that his government wants to finalise and find good solutions to the ongoing genocide negotiations between is country and Namibia.
Speaking during a meeting with Geingob and Vice President Nangolo Mbumba, who is part of the Namibian government genocide negotiation team, at State House on Monday, Günther said in order for the two countries to shape their future together, they also need to look at the past together.
“Because we in Germany are aware of our guilt, we are aware of the suffering that we have brought to Namibia and we know that our past both unites and divides us. In the future it’s very important that we look at this together and find a solution,” he said.
He also said that Germany is interested in finding a quick resolution to the negotiations.
“I know that they have been going on for a long time especially in your country, for you it’s very important that the process speeds up and is concluded,” he noted.
The Bundesrat (Federal Council) president explained that he is not speeding up the negotiation process because he wants to hasten it, but because Germany does not want to give the impression that they are causing delays.
“For us it’s very important that we find a joint solution to the process. It’s really not the speed that’s the focus of this, but it’s that both sides are happy, at the end are happy with the outcome,” he stated.
Replying to Günther, Mbumba said the progress of the negotiations is slow because of the items involved.
“A lot of research was done to make sure that we know what we are talking about and we have the facts right, also the interpretation in terms of law and all related matters,” Mbumba said.
He, however, said that progress has been made even though the negotiation progress is slow.
“The political declaration is very close to being finalised, that we agree with, what we mean by genocide with apology and we have reparation,” he said, adding that the translation should be the same in both English and German languages.
“The genocide issue, the apology issue, those are things I think we only need the legal people to go through. The elephant in the room as the negotiators always call it, is the reparation - making right of what was wrong,” he explained.
The next negotiation session Mbumba said, will deal with the outstanding matters.
“On our side they are preparing the full briefing towards the highest authority in the country [President Geingob].”
He also highlighted that in the ongoing town hall meetings conducted by the Office of the President, community members emotionally expressed that the history between Germany and Namibia was not very kind towards them.
Mbumba further mentioned that issues of drought, land and water were part of the negotiations.
“We also want a clear definition or separation between development assistance as it has been going on and the major items we are going to address when doing right in terms of land, water, infrastructure construction and education of the children of those who survived those injustices (genocide),” he explained.
Mbumba told the German delegation that once the negotiators are done, it will then be up to the politicians to decide but even so, it might not be easy as the decisions might not be accepted by all community members, “but hopefully acceptable by the majority of the people”.
The last time a German Bundesrat president visited Namibia was in 1997.