Genocide should not be used to score points: Geingob

WINDHOEK: Prime Minister Hage Geingob on Thursday said political leaders should not try to score cheap political gains just because as they are campaigning for the November elections.

He said this while responding to statements made by Swapo-Party Member of Parliament (MP) Kazenambo Kazenambo last week in connection with German Parliamentarian Doris Barnett saying the German Parliament would no longer discuss reparations for genocide victims

“Regarding the question of genocide and reparation I would like to cool some tempers because this issue is sensitive and emotive. As political leaders we should not use it to try and score cheap political gains just because we are campaigning for the elections,” Geingob said.

An emotional Kazenambo last Tuesday wanted to know if the National Assembly (NA) received a formal statement from the German Parliament saying discussions on genocide reparation would no longer continue.

His question followed media reports that Barnett, who recently visited Namibia, made the remarks.

He explained that a motion on the subject was passed unanimously by the late OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako and referred to the German Parliament for their pronouncement on the issue.

Kazenambo said it is important to know what the position of the Namibian Parliament is on the matter, especially if the German government considers the subject of reparations closed.

“The blood of our people and the dispossession of the OvaHerero, Damara-Namas and the Owambos have been closed by this lady,” he stressed.

He said the issue concerns the lives of the Namibian tribes that suffered extermination under the German imperial government.

Geingob on Thursday said people should desist from tribal utterances and promoting tribal groups at the expense of Namibians’ national identity.

He noted that it is true that the 1904 extermination order specifically referred only to the OvaHerero and Nama-speaking Namibians, but wanted to know if this means only members of the two groups were killed.

“Recently, the OvaMbanderu were added as part of the genocide groups, yet they are not mentioned in the extermination order,” he said.

Geingob further added that the skulls recently repatriated from Germany revealed that other groups such as the Ndonga and Damara-speaking people were also victims, and that it may be discovered in the future from the skulls that other Namibian ethnic groups were also killed.

“On the reparations issue, I repeat, let us not use this matter to whip up emotions of the descendants just for political gain and leverage…. Government will be there to negotiate with the German State to bring this matter to an end, unless of course we want to make this an election issue,” he said.