Ngavirue appointed as special envoy on genocide

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Windhoek

Government has appointed long-serving Ambassador Dr Zed Ngavirue as the special envoy to lead deliberations with the German Government on the 1904-1908 genocide.

At a media briefing yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, announced that Ngavirue who was appointed by President Hage Geingob will engage with his German counterpart on the evils committed mainly against the Ovaherero and Namas.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said that over the last three years, a number of high-level visits and discussions on the way forward took place. Recently, Nandi-Ndaitwah had a meeting with her German counterpart, Frank Walter Steinmeier, in New York.

“All these interactions have brought us to a point where we are now able to formalize and further intensify the dialogue. To this end, the two governments have agreed to appoint special envoys to spearhead this process,” stated Nandi-Ndaitwah.

The Namibian Government established diplomatic relations with the German Government in February 1991. Shortly before Namibia’s independence, the German parliament acknowledged a special moral and historic responsibility towards Namibia.

“The Namibia-German bilateral relationship is born out of a painful colonial past. The atrocities committed in our country by Germany from 1904 to 1908 have left a deep scar on our national psyche,” reflected the international relations minister.

Consultations to get the communities’ input will commence soon, said Nandi-Ndaitwah, who explained that the consultations were halted due to “misunderstandings with communities”.

Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro and the chairperson of the Nama Genocide Technical committee, Ida Hoffman, visited Germany in July this year.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said she could not say when the next batch of skulls would be repatriated to Namibia.
“This issue has been handled by the ministry responsible for culture,” she said.

Ngavirue was Namibia’s Ambassador to the European Union (EU) as well as to Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

– Additional reporting by Nampa

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