Windhoek – Swanu President Usutuaije Maamberua has called on the United Nations (UN) to intervene in the negotiations between the Namibian and German governments for reparations over the Ovaherero and Nama genocide of 1904-1908 committed by Germany.
He said Swanu wrote a letter to the UN last year asking the international body to halt further discussions on reparations between the two governments.
Maamberua said the Namibian government does not have the technical capacity and know-how on the issue, saying it’s dealing with a strong and powerful party (Germany).
Maamberua indicated there is a need for the United Nations to intervene and mediate between the two governments.
“So we need to acquire patriotic intellectuals. We wrote a letter that the negotiations be halted. We also feel the majority-affected people of the Hereros and Namas are not included in the negotiations,” he noted.
According to him the genocide reparations issue is long overdue, adding that there is no way the two countries can proceed with negotiations without the presence of the UN.
He said the UN has been responsible for Namibia “for so long” and it’s only such a body that can be the referee in the discussions.
“To be honest, the affected communities do not trust the Namibian government nor the German government because of their attitude. So the only party that could play a referee or advisory role and has the requisite experience regarding the genocide is the United Nations. Therefore, the United Nations must be invited to be party to these discussions. Why was the United Nations left out in the first place? Otherwise I don’t see any positive outcome out of these discussions,” he maintained.
Maamberua said Germany is the only country that committed two genocides in the world (Namibians and Jews).
“Germany is the only country in the world that caused two world wars – the first one and the second one. So how on earth do you expect a small country like Namibia to pitch up against Germany? Apparently they have bilateral agreements without the presence of the international community. Germany is a very dangerous country. It’s not a country where you take the inexperienced and young Namibian democracy and say can you negotiate this complex issue. The United Nations still has the responsibility over Namibia,” he said.
He also revealed that this year May 28 would be a public holiday to commemorate Genocide Remembrance Day, following Swanu’s motion that was unanimously accepted by parliament last year.
He said the day would benefit especially the young ones as they will learn about the genocide.
He noted the motion is currently with the legal and constitutional committee that is supposed to consult with the affected communities.
“They did consult with those communities. It will come back to parliament when we open but it was accepted last year. It’s just a matter of procedure now. So as of 28th of May, Namibia will be celebrating Genocide Remembrance Day. The date in May is when the genocide victims – the Namas and Hereros – were released from the concentration camps. So it’s a common day that we have to honour as Namibians. This is because of the motion Swanu brought to parliament,” he said.
Maamberua added it’s “rather a contribution Swanu made to the nation” instead of praising themselves for an achievement.
“We are in parliament to articulate the aspirations of the Namibian people. And that’s exactly what we are doing. For us those are some of our contributions. Even the mid-term budget review that happened last year was because of Swanu. All these years you never heard of a mid-term budget review. I tabled the motion four years ago, but it only started last year. The former minister rejected it but we never gave up. So the current minister decided to implement it last year,” he stated.
According to him, Swanu is the only political party in Namibia that has emerged from the dust, blood and ashes of genocide.
He said Namibians coming together to form Swanu on September 27, 1959, was because of the realization that Namibians had with genocide.
“The suffering of the people is fully enshrined with Swanu. That is why we are the only political party that is articulate, outspoken and we are at the forefront of the genocide issue,” Maamberua said.