Namibia Accused Of Entering Into A Controversial Reparation Deal With Germany

Namibia will reportedly receive reparations for the genocide that took place between 1904 and 1908, where 75 000 indigenous Namibians were killed and buried in mass graves by German soldiers. The two countries have been in negotiations for six years with Germany refusing to either acknowledge the genocide or utter the word “reparations”. However, the current German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier will reportedly offer a formal apology in the Namibian parliament. Additionally, the German government has committed to funding social projects targeted at the descendants of the Herero, an agreement many Namibians are calling a public relations strategy by the German government.

Zed Ngavirue of the special envoy on the Nama-Herero genocide of 1904 to 1908 stated that the the talks with the German government had been “fruitful”, but would neither deny nor confirm reports that a definite deal had been signed, according to TimesLIVE.

“I cannot reveal any information yet without informing my principals, the president (Hage Geingob) and the minister of international relations (Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah),” Ngavirue told the Namibian press.

The Namibian government has touted the deal as a victory. On the contrary, the Ovaherero Traditional Authority and the Nama Traditional Leaders Association have expressed that the deal is a betrayal. The authority further castigated Ngavirue for accepting the “shameful” agreement considering that he is a direct descendent of the slain Nama-Herero. According to The Namibian, the association pleaded with the United Nations and African Union to support them and intervene on the agreement.

According to DW, Germany offered Namibia 11.7 million U.S dollars in August 2020, but the Namibian government refused the amount and requested a revision instead. Furthermore, Germany not only refused to issue an unreserved apology but initiated an inhumane debate on the definition of what constitutes a genocide. The German government also refused to use the word reparations and, instead, suggested the phrase “healing the wounds” in its place. The suggestion further deepened most Namibians’ wounds, as captured in the BBC article that expressed how it was impossible to put a price on each of the lost lives in the genocide, and the ensuing concentration camps where the Nama and Herero people were worked to death. With most people living in abject poverty, Namibians face the socio-economic and environmental effects of those harrowing events to this day.

Germany colonised Namibia from 1884 to 1915. Namibia then came under South African rule for 75 years, before gaining independence in 1990. Over 70 percent of Namibian land is currently owned by Germans.

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