Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president McHenry Venaani has branded the genocide settlement between Germany and Namibia a gimmick, saying the amount offered cannot make up for the loss of lives, massive tracts of land and trauma experienced by victim communities.
The leader of the official opposition said it is heartbreaking that the Namibian government has accepted N.dollars 18 billion as genocide reparation over 30 years for the horrendous killing of at least 100 000 Hereros and 10 000 Namas between 1904 and 1908.
The pain is “immeasurable”, he said on Saturday at the opening of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM)’s central committee meeting.
“When I speak about genocide and Shark Island, I become emotional. Many wives were forced to skin the skulls of their husbands for the skull to go to Germany for scientific purposes. Can you underscore the horrific emotional suffering that that woman should undergo, skin your beloved husband’s head and for that head to be packed in a box to go to Germany?” an emotional Venaani said.
He added that the horrendous crimes that were committed in Namibia by the German demand respect.
According to Venaani, without coercion, Germany willingly spent N.dollars 19 billion since independence on Namibia through developmental aid and the same amount it is now offering as genocide reparation.
This defeats logic, he said.
“This genocide deal equates to soccer players’ deals that they get from their team [in Europe]. We can’t have that as a respectable deal,” he said.
Venaani wants government to go back to the drawing board and bring all stakeholders to the table, including its antagonists.
As Namibia’s international temerity is put to test, PDM has written to retired Pope Benedict XVI of the Catholic Church to “help raise the question of consciousness to Germany to deliver a respectable deal”.
Meanwhile, political analyst Joseph Diescho criticised the government for reaching a “compromised settlement”.
“From an objective yet informed perspective, those who are praising the agreement are either doing so in bad faith or for some personal benefit… In short, no reconciliation can be effected without the acceptance of both sides in good faith, that the road ahead is mutually beneficial in the short and long term,” he said in a statement shared with Nampa.
On Friday, Vice President Nangolo Mbumba reaffirmed Namibia’s position to accept the German offer.
In fact, he said, it is not an opportunity to be missed.
“Deep down in my heart, soul and head, the amount of money in any currency is not enough. I don’t think any Namibian thinks it’s enough. No amount can truly compensate for a life of a human being lost. But we chose what we could and move forward,” Mbumba said.
“We are not proud of the amount. Our negotiators did the best under the circumstances,” he added.
For Mbumba, the outcome could have been better had Namibia chosen the legal route.
So far, the deal struck between the two governments has been received with mixed feelings by political and traditional leaders alike. Some say the deal is “an insult”, while others view it as a closed case.
Source: Namibia Press Agency