Genocide Claims Get Huge Support in Parly

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek The motion in the National Assembly on the Ovaherero Genocide yesterday gained momentum as three opposition parties threw their weight behind it. The motion was introduced by Nudo President and Ovaherero Paramount Chief, Kuaima Riruako, last month. The presidents of the DTA of Namibia, Congress of Democrats (CoD) and United Democratic Front (UDF) all called for Parliament to support the motion and demand reparations. DTA President Katuutire Kaura, who was the first to take the floor on the motion yesterday, said he was no stranger to the topic (genocide) and showed a picture where he and Riruako were delivering a petition to the German Embassy during the visit to Namibia of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Kaura said the fact that he was from the DTA and Riruako from Nudo was immaterial. He said the local German population becomes very sensitive when the issue is touched on and feel that the Ovahereros are talking about them. Kaura thus called on local Germans to drop the attitude of guilt by association and help the Ovahereros in sensitizing the German Government on the issue. “If the German Government is assisting German schools in this country, why can’t it assist the schools in Namibia where victims of the infamous destruction order are being trained?” Kaura further noted that the genocide issue is not owned by anyone in particular but today is owned by all of the descendants of the genocide as well as other Namibians. The parliamentarian claimed that the “chickens have come home to roost and the motion is at the right place in the Namibian Parliament”. “It is neither in Washington nor New York, or Berlin, it is here in Windhoek in the building where Chief Hosea Kutako refused to drink tea as long as his followers were made to stand outside.” During his speech, Kaura quoted extensively from literature on the 1904-1907 war and a number of times Swapo MP Ngarikutuke Tjiriange corrected some historical facts or added new ones. CoD President Ben Ulenga, who was second to contribute to the debate, said the matter is a truly national issue. He said Namibians must show the world and Germany that Namibians are standing together, united as a nation in demanding reparations for the communities against whom genocide and other atrocities were committed. “We must now make this a national demand, and this demand namely that the descendants of the affected communities are entitled to material compensation in the form of reparations.” He called on the Namibian Government to put an emphatic end to the ambiguity and shiftiness that have characterized the government’s response to the issue of reparations. “There is no way the Namibian government cannot be leading the demands of Namibians and therefore I appreciate the strong statement from the Secretary General of Swapo Party on the issue of genocide.” Joining the debate, the UDF president Justus GaroÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚«b warned that Riruako should not mislead the nation by claiming that the Ovaherero was the only group singled out to be exterminated by an official legal order, the infamous extermination order. GaroÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚«b said Riruako is legally correct but there is also another side of the coin. “There were only two black groups during the war time, namely the Ovaherero and the Damaras, and the Germans could not differentiate between the two at a distance.” GaroÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚«b, who is also the Chief of the Damaras, claimed that through his research he has discovered that two Damara chiefs from the Okahandja area were specifically called upon by Herero leaders to join the forces with their young men just before the Ohamakari engagement of bloody and fierce fighting. The debate was adjourned by the CoD’s Nora Schimming-Chase to next week Tuesday.