Germany Must Own Up – Rukoro

THE OVAHERERO Traditional Authority on Saturday threatened to exercise its rights should the German government refuse to apologise and pay for the genocide by 2 October this year.

The Ovaherero and Nama community will commemorate 111 years since the genocide took place from 1904 to1907.

Paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro said this during his installation at Okahandja last weekend while addressing a huge audience which included people from the United States of America, South Africa and Botswana.

“We are asking for reparations regarding the act of genocide which is a crime against humanity. We call on the German government to stop being selective as they cannot accept that what happened to the Armenian people constitutes genocide but not what they did to the Ovaherero and the Nama. Is it because one event took place on European soil and the other on African soil? If it is the case, then it is naked international racism which is unacceptable in this modern day and age,” Rukoro said.

He said Germany should send a senior government official to apologise for the genocide before 2 October when the Ovaherero and Nama people will commemorate 111 years since the genocide.

“If this is not done, Germany and others must take full responsibility when the current and future generations of our people assert their rights. Our claims will not expire nor will they go away. They will become even more expensive if they delay,” said Rukoro.

He further added that the German relations will be highly affected as a result and things will never be the same between Namibia and Germany.

According to Rukoro, the late Kuaima Riruako left the people a big task of dealing with the reparations issue and he will take it up with vigour.

The Namibian in January this year reported that the OTA had called on Germany to refrain from using the Namibian government as a mediator but that the Germans should deal with the authority directly when it comes to the payment of genocide reparations.

However, the German director general of Sub Saharan Africa and Sahel, George Schmidt, who was in the country at the time pointed out that it was not possible to deal with a community directly but encouraged that there be room for such discussions with the affected people.

Source : The Namibian