Written by: KaokoLand Traditional Chiefs, Churches, Youth, NGO and the communities at larger
In 1884, Koakoland became part of German Southwest Africa. Germany has established two large camps in Sesfontein and Otjitunduua, and a small camp in Otuzemba. Therefore, there’s German cemetery in the Koakoland area, there is evidence of several battlefield between people of Koako and the Germans in different places so far.
To commemorate this event, the late paramount chief Kuama Riruako proposed to build a monument in Otuzemba. Paramount chief Adv. Vekuii Rukoro visited this cemetery from Germany in those areas and the place where the Herero from Koakoland (pave Rangerere ovita mbi) is located. The traditional chiefs and their advisors that agreed on the negotiation, they represent the minority groups and their own interests in our communities not that of the majority.
Therefore, the ovaHimba and the ovaZemba communities stand in solidarity with all those who are rejecting the negotiation. In response to the ongoing genocide negotiations between Namibia and the German governments.
The negotiation matter should not be between the two governments but between the government of Germany and us the descendants of the victims of the genocide with the facilitation of the Namibian government. Hence, the genocide matter is being discussed in wrong faith and by the wrong people.
Therefore, the negotiation should stop and all the agreement reached. How come a facilitator become a negotiator? According to us (the affected communities) the motion of September 2006 presented by the late parliamentarian and Ovaherero paramount chief Kuaima Riruako, that we supported, requested the Namibian government to play a facilitation role in organizing, amongst other things, a genocide conference to map out the future of the negotiating process, not to negotiate on our behalf.
The government of Namibia twisted this under its greedy, arrogant and its culture of nepotism that it’s known for a long, and deliberately ignored this clause so as to be in charge of the negotiating process, thereby circumventing and violating the rights of the victims,” The descendants of 1904-8 genocide continue to suffer at the hands of the Namibian government, through a Systematic Inequality and Economic Opportunity. All the regions where the descendants of the 1904-8 genocide are the most regions underdevelopment after 31 years of independence.
Drawing a map of all the areas where the descendants of the genocide live, it is clear that we have received relatively little attention in Namibia. Our regions has almost no access to public services, such as proper roads, water, electricity and networks throughout the country. Therefore, we believe that this Government is using genocide negotiation as the Trojan horse to resume total control of us through their Inequality and lack of Economic Opportunities.
We don’t have trust in our government that it will negotiation in good faith, because is the same government that received the money of the Swat and Koevoet and used it in their own interest and denied to give them their money and recognized as former fighters. This clearly shows that the Namibian government has changed its role from facilitating negotiations to being a negotiator, doing so for the benefit of its elite, not for the benefit of the affected communities.
It is time to also change the power dynamic and for the Namibian government to move from negotiation to what we requested to be (facilitator). The Germany government must take this negotiation through respectful dialogue with all relevant parties, and all the descendant of genocide and not just a few. We must have a genuine place at the table in these discussions through our own representative.
The government claims to have done consultation, which raised a lot questions? When and how they did this consultations. This genocide matter need a proper consultation with all Indigenous groups and the affected communities. It is of particular relevance to the enjoyment by Indigenous people of the right to selfdetermination guaranteed by articles 1 of the ICCPR and the ICESCR and that is enshrined in the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and that are laid out in core human rights treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). Indeed we are requesting to have adequate participation on the negotiation tables and to freely choose our own group representatives. The German proposal to finance the project in Namibia is not enough to solve the serious damage it has caused us.
The loss we suffered is far-reaching and permanent, and the depth of the pain and loss cannot be overcome by this unfair process. There must be a just outcome and fair outcome, and this blatant indifference must never be allowed to reoccur. Namibian government must know that there’s no reparation without addressing Ancestral land question and the 1986 demarcation (Redline). These two critical issue must be handled within this negotiation process.
Namibia has approximately 4,000 commercial farms and 80% of these farm are owned by the descendants of Lieutenant General Lothar von Trotha and not the descendant of the victims of genocide. Germany has indicated that they were willing to give Namibia an amount of money for the implementation of projects. However, this amount will not close the gap of the economic inequality in Namibia, especial amongst the affected communities.
In our conclusion we are quoting one of the woman who was a prisoner of war in the Herero and Nama genocide Queen Kaipkire gave a speech before her death and during her era when she won many battles against the Germany and we quoted “I can hear the roar of Courageous women, African women have been Introduced to alien or foreign cultures in the past, the African women themselves, we will fight and sacrifice our lives on the battlefields, we are going to liberate and fight for our freedom and return back to our heritage.” Unquote.
On that note we are hearing the roar of courage descendant of genocide from all work of life and nation of the world, who clamores for justice and reparation for the injustices they suffered. We want to make it clear that the reparation negotiations have just begun. Therefore, we rejected this proposal and request the Namibian government to continue to act as a facilitator of the negotiations and allows the affected communities sit at the negotiation table with Germany.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Africanian News.