NPC Clarifies Facts of German Special Initiative

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A report in a local English daily of Friday, 17 November, 2006, captioned “Way cleared for German N$160 million,” contains serious errors and misrepresentation of facts regarding the German Special Initiative for Namibia. The report creates an impression that the Special Initiative is a kind of German reparation for atrocities committed against certain ethnic groups in Namibia by the then German colonial forces. The report is totally false and warrants the following clarification of the Special Initiative: 1. The Special Initiative is neither a reparation programme nor does it pave the way for reparations for Herero, Nama, Damara and San communities. The Special Initiative was proposed by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to finance development projects in areas and for communities that had “historic ties” with the German colonial government and which the present German Government considers as a special moral and political responsibility towards Namibia to aid the said communities. The Special Initiative Is Not a Reparation Programme. 2. Total funds to be provided by the German Government amount to 20-million Euros or N$160-million. This is the amount to be provided for the implementation of projects and development programmes under the Special Initiative. The report in the English daily incorrectly states that the European country undertook to give 20-million Euro each year over then years. This creates the impression that total funding for the Special Initiative will amount to 200-million Euros or N$1.6 billion. The fact of the matter is that the German Government will only provide a total 20-million Euro over the ten-year period for projects to be funded under the Special Initiative. 3. The Special Initiative will not target specific ethnic groups as reported by the daily but will benefit all communities in the Erongo, Hardap,Kunene, Karas, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke Regions, irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds. The Special Initiative is not limited to these regions but could be extended to projects in other regions as and if additional funds become available. It should be noted that this is a Special Initiative for Namibia and not for certain ethnic groups as reported. 4. It must also be pointed out that the purpose of the Special Initiative was explained during consultative meetings with the communities. It was clearly pointed out during these consultative meetings that the Special Initiative was not a form of reparation for atrocities committed by the German colonial administration. The Initiative was overwhelmingly accepted by these communities, hence its submission to Cabinet for approval. 5. It is, therefore, hoped this clarifies the purpose of the German Special Initiative for Namibia. NPCS wishes to call upon all media practitioners to seek clarification before misrepresenting facts in their reports. Mocks Shivute Permanent Secretary National Planning Commission Windhoek