The chairperson of the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu Genocide Foundation, Utjiua Muinjangue, says no amount of threats directed at the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu traditional leaders would deter them from pursuing the ongoing demands for genocide reparations.
Speaking at a press conference at the UN Plaza in Windhoek on Wednesday, Muinjangue, who spoke on behalf of the Nama Technical Committee on Genocide and the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu Genocide Foundation, said they have noted with grave concern the intimidation levelled against them allegedly by members of the Namibian Police (Nampol).
She said that during the recent public lecture on the political and economic transformation of Germany, held at the University of Namibia, many of them were reportedly subjected to inhuman treatment by the police.
“What happened at Unam recently is something we haven’t seen in an independent Namibia before,” she said.
Muinjangue also accused Nampol of constantly monitoring their daily activities and tapping their phones.
Spokesperson of the Namibian Police Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi yesterday said he was too busy locked up in a meeting to comment on the allegations of police intimidation.
Muinjangue said: “We have come to accept that this issue, of genocide and reparation, is bigger than ourselves as individuals,” adding that they would work indefatigably until they are at peace with themselves and the spirit of their ancestors to which they would gracefully sing their national anthem that their “blood waters our freedom”.
Furthermore, Muinjangue said they have noted with grave concern that some high-ranking members of society are making remarks that amount to denying what Imperial Germany did between 1904 and 1908, based on two specific extermination orders, was indeed genocide.
“These insensitive, unsubstantiated and uninformed remarks render themselves to what has been generally referred to as colonial atrocities to avoid and sidestep the specific crime of genocide committed by the Imperial German Forces,” she said.
“This is insensitive as it adulterates the factual and historical records of events as they transpired and must be dismissed with the contempt it deserves by all,” she added.
Muinjangue said the current government-to-government approach on genocide and reparation by President Hage Geingob constitutes a fundamental violation of the intent of the 26 October 2006 National Assembly Resolution and amounts to nothing else but a naked gimmick intended to exclude descendants of the genocide victims and to deny them their basic rights to self-representation in the ongoing negotiations.
According to her, the exclusion of the representatives of the Nama and Ovaherero from these negotiations is a violation of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on September 13, 2007, which says that “States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous people, with respect to their culture, and intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.”
Additionally, Article 18 of the 2007 declaration provides as follows: “Indigenous people have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institution.”