Govt unaware of Germany’s atonement plan

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WINDHOEK, 02 September 2016 - Ambassador Zed Ngavirue, who is the special envoy leading the deliberations with the German government on the 1904-1908 genocide, and his technical team left for Berlin on Friday. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-Namibia’s Special Envoy for the Negotiations on Genocide, Dr Zed Ngavirue, has said government is unaware of Germany’s proposed atonement plan for Namibia.
The Sächsiche Zeitung reported last week that Germany has proposed a German-Namibian future foundation and structural fund as part of its atonement for the injustices of the German colonisation of southwest Africa.

According to the report, Germany’s Special Envoy for the Negotiations on Genocide Reparations, Ruprecht Polenz, announced the atonement plans on Monday evening during a discussion with journalists in Berlin.

Speaking to New Era yesterday, Dr Ngavirue said: “I am not informed of any atonement plans by the Germans,” Germany’s Ambassador to Namibia, Christian Schlaga yesterday refused to comment, saying Polenz is the official representative of Germany in the talks with Namibia.

Up to 100,000 Hereros and Namas are believed to have been killed by German Imperial troops in the early 20th century in what was then known as German South-West Africa. Successive German governments have refused to characterise the massacres as genocide.

The present government only agreed to the description of the German colonial troops’ actions as genocide in 2015, reversing its earlier position. The dialogue between Germany and Namibia includes discussions about an official apology for the genocide.

However, Schlaga has publicly ruled out paying reparations directly to members of the Ovaherero and Nama ethnic groups. He last year hinted though that Germany would be willing to pay Namibia compensation, from which the entire population would benefit.

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