Genocide negotiations deceptive and undemocratic – Kooitjie

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Eveline de Klerk

Swakopmund-Reparation negotiations with regard to the genocide committed by German colonial troops against the Ovaherero/Ovambanderu and Nama people are still selective, deceptive and undemocratic, as it excludes the affected people from the negotiations.
This is according to the chairperson of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association, Chief Seth Kooitjie, who was speaking at the tenth Ovaherero/Ovambanderu commemoration walk that took place at Swakopmund on Saturday.

A Nama delegation from the south also participated in this year’s event and joined the Ovaherero community as they walked through Swakopmund displaying posters condemning the German government for murdering and raping and keeping their forefathers and mothers in concentration camps in which of thousands are said to have died during the 1904-1908 genocide.

The policy of extermination of men, women and children, whether armed or unarmed, was initiated under the command of German General Lothar von Trotha, who issued the infamous ‘Extermination Orders’ against the Herero and Nama people.
A visibly displeased Kooitjie said ordinary Ovaherero, Nama and Ovambanderu people, whose forefathers were massacred by the German colonial troops, should not be excluded by government from the negotiations.

“How can you have talks about us without us? … Anything about us without us is against us,” Kooitjie said. According to the chief, negotiated conventions and treaties are based on the principle of full and effective participation of all affected stakeholders.
“Yet the negotiations in Namibia are still selective, deceptive and above all undemocratic. We cannot and will not entertain this. We should be part and parcel of the discussion, as it is about us and what our ancestors went through,” Kooitjie explained.
He said the process before the appointment of the political committee to handle the genocide matter was also marred by unclear and deceptive methods, such as backdoor invites and in the selection of people to represent the interest of the affected community.

Kooitjie said the status and therefore the impact of the selected people and the bodies whereon they serve are not transparent and, hence, they are at best mere ‘saamlopers’ (fellow travellers) without any meaningful role in the negotiation process and beyond.

“From the beginning our interest is focussed on the pre-negotiation and post-negotiation responses of all counterparts. It is, therefore, important to us that the chain of events is communicated, so that the settlement is not a secret of the few insiders.
“All of the current developments already raised suspicion, because of the secretive nature of dealing with this matter,” Kooitjie charged.

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