Yesterday marked five years since Hoveka (Tjimana) Royal House Chief, Kaveriua Sylvanus Hoveka, passed on.
Namibia expects the arrival this weekend, if not early next week, of the German special envoy on genocide, Ruprecht Polenz, for another engagement with his Namibian counterpart, Dr Zed Ngavirue.
And it seems that such engagements are turning into just routine. More so because most concerned and relevant victims of genocide from whose hands the matter has been wrestled are at the periphery of the negotiations.
This has now become a diplomatic and formal nicety of shuttles between the two special envoys as a pretence that something substantive is being hammered out. Of course how can such engagements, which in the first place seem to have been mooted in ill will and without consultations with the affected communities, ever be expected to have any substance.
As Polenz arrives in the country, one cannot but use the occasion to remind him, and indeed his Namibian counterpart that the issue of genocide and restorative justice is not only a matter of diplomatic niceties but a serious historic chapter of pain and suffering.
But particularly with the arrival of Polenz in the country, one cannot but remember many of the sons of the soil as far as the issue of genocide and restorative justice is concerned. They are many.
But on this occasion mention must be made of Kaveriua Sylvanus Hoveka. Yesterday was exactly five years since he departed from this planet called earth. Many may say that he did so untimely. Not that he did not accomplish his mission.
One, he was one of the traditional leaders who in 2011, the same year in which he later, a month or so, left this world, went to Berlin to connect with the skulls of his ancestors which had been languishing in German museums, and escorted them back home.
In November the same year he was on a mission of his people in the North making submissions to the Council of Traditional Leaders. This was for the recognition of the Hoveka (Otjimana) Royal House. There he departed following a car accident. To this day the Hoveka Royal House has not been recognised despite leading the trek of the survivors of Ovaherero and Ovambanderu to Epukiro following their release and emergence from Imperial Germany’s concentration camps.
Although nothing has changed about the two matters that were the centre of his existence as the leader paramount of Otjimana and Epukiro, five years after his departure, nothing has changed. The only notable change seems to have been the appointment of the two special envoys on genocide.
What has been achieved since the appointment of the two envoys must only be known to the two envoys themselves, and their appointees, the Namibian and German governments. Not that in the first place, at least from the perspective of the directly affected communities of the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama, that there ever was any expectation that anything would ensue from the appointments of the two special envoys.
Because such appointments were never in the beginning cast in the reality of history of genocide. This reality is that the genocide was committed against a people, the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama. These direct descendants of the very direct victims of genocide are today bona fide citizens of Namibia. They are by no means adopted children of an independent Namibia.
But while this being the case there’s no evidence of how, when or whether they have ever been recognised and consulted by their government, the sovereign Namibian government, on how it should approach this matter. Thus, it really cannot be said there have been genuine negotiations on genocide. Not the genocide affecting the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama.
Thus what the two special envoys have said and reported to have been negotiating on remains a mystery. In this regard another arrival of Polenz in this country is of no consequence to the affected communities. Until both our government and its German counterpart come to a realistic re-awakening who are the legitimate negotiators on genocide, who can be none other than the affected communities, of course through their chosen representatives and delegates. This of course includes those in the Botswana and South African Diaspora. Thus five years after the departure of late Kaveriua Hoveka, nothing has changed and nothing is about to change even with another arrival of Polenz in the country until the two governments go back to the drawing board.