President Will Not Attend Ovaherero Meeting

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By Staff Reporter Windhoek President Hifikepunye Pohamba will not attend the Ovaherero leadership summit slated for Okakarara this weekend due to prior commitments. The president received an invitation to “grace the occasion of the Okakarara summit with your presence” from Chief Kuaima Riruako of the Ovaherero tribe earlier. On the eve of the Ova-herero summit, the president said he commends the efforts of every Namibian who strives for the unity of citizens. In a letter addressed to the chief, President Pohamba said government and the presidency have since Independence worked tirelessly for the unity of Namibia. “It is always said that unity is strength. Therefore, the more we are united as a nation, the stronger we become. I can assure you, therefore, that as President of this country, I will continue to tirelessly work for the unity of our nation. I will also ensure that our policy of national reconciliation is embraced by every citizen.” The president informed Chief Riruako that the German government has approached its Namibian counterpart with a proposal for a German-Namibian Special Initiative Concept. After carefully studying the German proposal, it was decided that it constituted a subject of further negotiations. The idea received principle approval from the government subject to the following conditions: – In principle, the government has no objection to the concept of targeted development such as financing municipal development activities in areas of our country where Germany acknowledges special historical, political and moral responsibility. This principle is accepted on condition that there would be no discrimination against other Namibian citizens from other communities who reside in such municipal areas to be targeted for development. – There should be a study to carry out a needs assessment of such municipal areas so that the quantum of financial assistance is commensurate with the developmental needs of the communities to be assisted. – The needs assessment study should be carried out by an independent entity. – The implementation of the Special Initiative Concept should be done by an independent entity. – The funding of the Special Initiative Concept should be separate from the existing cooperation bilateral agreement and no reduction or transfer of funds from the aforementioned agreement should be made with a view to financing the Special Initiative Concept. – The Special Initiative Concept must involve the affected communities and the process of consultation must be transparent. President Pohamba told Chief Riruako that it was noticeable that the proposed German Special Initiative Concept appears to be different from the (Riruako’s) direct negotiation/contact with the German government. In addition, the proposed initiative covers all communities who were directly or indirectly affected by the German colonial war, such as the Namas. Pohamba said there was no doubt that the German/Herero war of 1904 to 1907 affected not only “our Herero community but it was a war whose effect is still being felt by the entire Namibia today”. “That war robbed Namibia of an educated workforce, it also robbed our country of becoming a viable international market by reduced population. Today, we are being told that due to the small population, Namibia’s market is too small to attract meaningful investment. Therefore, the loss should be regarded not only as a loss to the Herero community but as a national loss.” The president said it was for the aforesaid reasons that when the Special Initiative Concept was proposed and given the fact that the German colonial war also affected other communities, Government gave its principled conditional approval. “I am aware that parallel to the Special Initiative Concept, our Herero community have directly engaged the German government for reparation. The government will appreciate a courtesy of information from time to time regarding progress in this regard.” In closing, the president wished the chief fruitful deliberations and expressed the hope that the Ovaherero will find a long-lasting solution to the problem of disunity among themselves.