By Kuvee Kangueehi
The Ovaherero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako left for Germany yesterday to witness tomorrow’s tabling of a motion in the German Bundestag on “Reparations for German colonial crimes in the former German South West Africa”.
Riruako was invited by the Left Party, which will be introducing the motion.
During the introduction of the motion, the Left Party will call for the Federal Government of Germany to accept its historical responsibility and to recognize the right to reparations of the Herero and Nama people for the genocide perpetrated by the German protection corps and its peoples from 1904 to 1908.
They will further call on the German government to inform the Namibian government of its readiness to enter into open dialogue about reconciliation and reparations without preconditions, and with the participation of the ethnic groups concerned.
German companies and their legal successors which profited from forced labour or expropriation in German South West Africa should be involved appropriately in the payment of compensation.
The final request is to instigate the establishment of a foundation, the purpose of which is to strengthen historical awareness in Germany of colonial policy in the former German South West Africa, to deepen knowledge of Namibia’s cultural diversity and national identity, and to promote bilateral exchange between both countries in the areas of youth work and education.
The Namibian National Assembly on October 26, 2006 voted unanimously to adopt a motion acknowledging the genocide perpetrated by German troops, and supporting the claims made by the ethnic groups affected, for material reparations from the German state.
In the motion, the National Assembly called on the Namibian government to take an active role to broker negotiations between the German government and the representatives of the tribes concerned. During the parliamentary debate, Prime Minister Nahas Angula responded positively to this demand and supported the motion.
Members of the Left Party who sit in the Bundestag and who tabled the motion in the German parliament are Huseyin-Kenan Aydin, Heike Hansel, Monika Knoche, Dr Diether Dehm, Wolfgang Gehrcke, Inge Hoger, Ulla Jelpke, Dr Hakki Keskin, Michael Leutert, Dr Norman Paech, Paul Schafer, Dr Kirsten Tackmann, Alexander Ulrich and Dr Gregor Gysi.
Between 1904 and 1908 the colonial forces of the German Empire perpetrated genocide on the Herero and Nama peoples in the former German South West Africa. Historians estimate that up to 80 percent of the Herero people and 50 percent of the Nama people might have fallen victim to the campaign of annihilation waged by the former German “protection troops”.
Riruako will be accompanied by his wife and Nudo Party chief whip Arnold Tjihuiko. The delegation is expected back on Sunday.