Firebrand SWAPO politician and former Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Kazenambo Kazenambo, has warned that delays in finding an amicable solution regarding reparations for the 1904-1908 genocide, may radicalise Hereros.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Windhoek Observer this week, Kazenambo said the Government was generalising the issue of reparations when the tribes most-affected where the Hereros and the Namas.
“Germany cannot delay the issue forever because of their economic interests in Namibia. The Namibian Government cannot delay the issue further, unless the Government wants the Hereros to be radicalised. And if the Hereros become radicalised, I don’t know in which way this will take,” he said.
“The issue of genocide is not only close to my heart. The issue of genocide is my being. My grandparents left this country running for their lives, seeking refuge in Botswana. They are survivors of the genocide. I have family staying in Botswana,” he said.
Kazenambo said the approach taken by the Namibian and German governments on the issue of genocide is wrong.
“If the input is wrong, the output will be wrong. First of all, the Namibian Government is living in denial,” he said.
Kazenambo said by choosing political correctness, the Namibian Government was causing a lot of damage and tension.
“The Namibian Government is stuck like a robot when it comes to genocide. Genocide is a crime against humanity. It took place against the Namas and Hereros. Government’s point of departure is wrong.”
He highlighted that he was not saying that the genocide did not affect other Namibians.
“It does not mean that other Namibians did not suffer collateral damage, it does not suggest that Germany did not colonise the rest of Namibia, but I don’t know what the Government is trying to achieve by generalising the crime.”
Kazenambo said there is no harm in the two governments going back to the drawing board, as genocide reparations could not be decided without the participation of the affected tribes. “I am not saying that the State must not be involved,” he said.
Dr Zed Ngavirue, who is heading the Namibian technical committee on genocide negotiations, declined to comment on Kazenambo’s sentiments over the phone, saying it was a sensitive issue.
“There seems to be tension among people who see the negotiation process in a different light, thus it is not right to make an impromptu response not knowing the depth of the article,” he said. He opted to comment in depth after the article was published.
Last week, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany said in July 2016, the Namibian Special Envoy, Ngavirue, presented a document to the German Special Envoy, Ruprecht Polenz, which detailed the position of the Namibian Government for the German-Namibian negotiations covering the genocide and the conclusions to be drawn.
The embassy said the document formed the basis for extensive deliberations by both Special Envoys during their respective meetings in early September in Berlin as well as the end of November 2016 in Windhoek.
“During those deliberations the German Special Envoy responded by explaining in detail and great clarity the German assessment of the Namibian paper. Subsequently, both envoys agreed that Germany shall transmit this assessment also in writing to the Namibian Special Envoy,” the embassy said.
The embassy said German Ambassador to Namibia, Christian-Matthias Schlaga, on 27 June presented the ‘German Position Paper’ to Ngavirue.
“The paper contains the detailed German assessment of the Namibian paper presented in July 2016. This development shows that the negotiations between Namibia and Germany are on track and shall continue with the next meeting of both countries’ Special Envoys in due course.”