The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said all Namibians would benefit from genocide reparations, either directly or indirectly.
The minister was responding to questions raised in the National Assembly by Swanu president Usutuaije Maamberua last Friday on whether the reparations, if agreed upon by the governments of Namibia and Germany during the current negotiations, would benefit only the communities that were directly subjected to genocide by imperial German troops or not.
Nandi-Ndaitwah made it very clear that in no way would only the directly affected communities benefit from whatever reparations the German government pays. “When we get the reparation, are we talking about getting cash of N$400 billion and divide the number and say wherever you are come and get your share?” she asked,adding that the government is thinking of a programme that will bring genocide descendants to a position of dignity.
“We are thinking of building schools, roads, something that will make our economy to grow,” she said.
She said the 1904 genocide has negatively impacted Namibia’s image because whenever they try to market the country to investors they are always reminded of its small population.
“If, for example, we say let us focus in the areas where the affected communities live and we put up colleges and roads, will you say only the affected communities should use the infrastructure?” she further wanted to know.
Contributing to the debate, DTA president McHenry Venaani said one key thing lacking in the reparation demand process was adequate consultation by the government on the matter.
“We always come to hear of these things through the media, which is not a good thing at all,” he said.
The government confirmed last month that they have appointed five British lawyers and one local lawyer to help in the current genocide negotiations between the German and Namibian governments.
Those appointed are Advocate Dr Sacky Akweenda, Advocate Anna Uukelo (London-based), Advocate Dexter Diaz (Queen’s Counsel), Advocate Cameron Miles, Advocate Richard Reynolds and Advocate Paul Clark of Garden Court Chambers or Gray’s Inn of London.
“As you know, Germany is the most legally sophisticated country on the European continent – hence the need to engage English lawyers who are aware of European community law was obvious,” said Attorney General Sacky Shangala in his contribution to the debate.
Shangala said the lawyers, who were appointed for nine months, have been assisting the current negotiating teams in terms of research both in Namibia and abroad and also in drafting input statements.
“There is no litigation at hand – we don’t have instructions for litigation in the scope of the engagement of the two envoys,” he said.