Ngavirue denies being ‘outsmarted’ by Germans
The Windhoek Observer understands that the Namibian delegation for the genocide talks was outsmarted by the German representatives, who questioned some of the facts presented by the Dr Zed Ngavirue led team.
Sources say the delegation’s draft document was found wanting by the Germans who were in the company of top lawyers and historians.
The Namibian delegation is said to have come short on historical and legal facts, despite prior calls from President Hage Geingob for the grouping to be well prepared for the crucial talks.
It has also emerged that some key expert members of the Namibian delegation, did not travel to Germany, after being snubbed by the Namibian government.
One of the key figures, who were allegedly snubbed, is political science lecturer Phanuel Kaapama, who confirmed to the Windhoek Observer that he was not part of the delegation to German a fortnight ago.
“I am really not aware of what went on in Germany, because as you know, I did not go because I was not selected. Therefore, I am just as in the dark as you are about what went on between the German and Namibian governments in Germany,” Kaapama said.
It is further alleged that the Germans are fully aware of the division within the country regarding the genocide issue, where the majority affected communities are claiming to have been excluded from the talks.
Sources alleged there appeared to be a deliberate attempt by the Namibian delegation to change the narrative of the genocide, in order to bring in more groups as having been affected, and that attempt is said to be where the Germans differed with the Namibians on historical facts.
According to insiders, it became clear at the talks that Namibians need to be united in order for the talks to be successful.
Namibian Special Envoy on the Genocide, Dr Zed Ngavirue, however, down played the allegations and said the first round of talks was basically to lay down the foundation and to see on what points the two parties agree and disagree on.
He remained mum on details, saying he first needed to brief President Hage Geingob on the outcome of the first round of talks.
“There is absolutely no truth in what your sources are saying, because we did go with a strong case to Germany and the talks went really well. We have made progress, because things went according to plan, as the German government did not state or show any uncertainty.
“We have submitted our document, which will pave the way forward concerning the genocide talks between the two nations. What I can confirm is that we have laid a positive foundation, which will lead these negotiations,” Ngavirue said, adding the public needs to have confidence in the delegation’s ability to bring finality to the issue.
Sources based in Germany revealed that the Namibian delegation, led by Dr Ngavirue, were not happy with the outcome of the talks between the two nations held a fortnight ago.
The second meeting between the two nations will be held in November this year.
The talks between the two governments come after the OvaHerero and Nama communities demanded reparations for the genocide committed by German colonialist forces in the then South-West Africa.
Germany ruled South-West Africa from 1884 to 1915.
Incensed by the settlers stealing their land and cattle and taking their women, the OvaHerero launched a revolt in January 1904, killing 123 German civilians over several days. The Nama tribe joined the uprising in 1905.
The colonial rulers responded ruthlessly and General Lothar von Trotha signed a notorious extermination order against the OvaHerero.
Captured Nama and OvaHerero died from malnutrition and severe weather. Dozens were beheaded and their skulls sent to German researchers in Berlin for “scientific” experiments.
Up to 80,000 OvaHerero lived in Namibia when the uprising began, and only 15,000 were left after the sustained killing campaign.
Germany has formally handed back dozens of the skulls, but Berlin has repeatedly refused to pay reparations, saying that its hundreds of millions of euro in development aid since Namibia’s independence from South Africa in 1990 was “for the benefit of all Namibians”.