Geingob off the mark - Kazenambo

21 April 2017 Author  
Former Cabinet Minister and current SWAPO Party Politburo member, Kazenambo Kazenambo

Former Cabinet Minister and current SWAPO Party Politburo member, Kazenambo Kazenambo, has strongly reacted to President Hage Geingob’s comments on genocide. During his third annual State of the Nation Address last week Geingob informed Parliament that the genocide negotiations with Germany can only take place between two states and that the European country cannot negotiate with non-State actors.

Kazenambo has, however, disputed Geingob’s claim, dismissing the president’s statement as “half correct”.

“The claim by Geingob that the Namibian Government ought to be the one pursuing these genocide negotiations with the German Government due to its State actor status is half correct, therefore off the mark and totally misleads the political novice and some of the un-alert members of the public,” Kazenambo said.

“This claim is not completely correct in consideration of the fact that some descendants of the victims of the genocide who resides in other countries, particularly, those who are yet to reclaim their Namibian citizenship on grounds of their origin, cannot be represented by the Namibian Government or anyone else at the moment without their consent.”

Kazenambo said no one has the right to exclude these groups from the negotiations, if they are really intended to bring closure to the ugly historical chapter between the Germans, Ovaherero and Namas.

The firebrand politician said that the Namibian Government has the right to participate on an equal footing in the current negotiations, just like any of the other interested multi-stakeholders concerned.

“But it is not the sole representative of the Ovaherero and Nama genocide for it (the Namibian Government) to dictate the terms and conditions.”

Kazenambo added that the descendants of the Ovaherero and Namas ought to be part and parcel of the agenda-setting and formulation of modalities on the genocide negotiations with full ownership of the entire process.

“The claim by Geingob that Government is the one to drive this negotiation process with the members of the affected communities being at the mercy of Government as it is currently the prevailing scenario, is not only wrong, but it is a display of the highest ignorance coupled with unspeakable arrogance on his part,” he said.

Kazenambo further noted that genocide is a crime against humanity and that for any crime, there is a direct injured party.

“The injured parties in this case are the Ovaherero and Namas. No amount of political expediency and hypocrisy will alter or distort that sad and most unfortunate historical reality,” he said, adding that “it defies logic that the Namibian Government, which is not the direct injured party, want to use its State actor status to minimise or weaken the role of the affected communities on the basis of a hogwash claim that it has been elected by the Ovaherero and Namas, amongst other Namibians in general.

“This claim is not only baseless and insensitive, but rather suspect.”

Kazenambo said the negative effects of genocide, such as economic dispossession and plunder, human banishment into exile, cultural destructions such as loss of language, are not confined to one geographical or territorial area (country), but rather continues to haunt the descendants of its victims, wherever they are found across the globe.

“Hence German cannot bring this matter to closure by dealing with the Namibian Government, and some traditional authorities and genocide committees. German is kidding herself if it is harbouring some delusion and wishful thinking that it will settle the genocide issue through manipulation on a bilateral basis with the Namibian Government.”

Background

The genocide issue has been a contentious one over the years. Senior SWAPO Party leaders such as Kazenambo, Ida Hoffman and Bernadus Swartbooi, have publicly disagreed with the Government’s stance on genocide negotiations and reparations.

The Windhoek Observer understands that another senior party member, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, who is a close ally of Geingob, has in Politburo meetings also differed with the president on this issue.

The direct criticism of Kazenambo towards Geingob is set to raise a few eyebrows given that the president would have been counting on the former minister’s as an ally at the upcoming SWAPO Party congress in November.

The Windhoek Observer understands that Kazenambo has on numerous occasions privately discussed the genocide issue with the president and pleaded with him to show sensitivity and respect towards the direct victims on genocide.

WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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