Calling us tribalists is ridiculous – Chief Kooitjie

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Matheus Hamutenya
Berseba

The chairperson of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association, Chief Seth Kooitjie, says it is ridiculous that people accuse Nama leaders of promoting tribalism when they speak of pertinent issues affecting their people such as the burning land issue.

In a speech read on his behalf at the 6th annual /Hai-/Khaua Traditional Authority festival in Berseba on Saturday, Kooitjie said the Nama people will not be pushed into a corner to feel guilty of a crime they have not committed, adding that their fight for restorative justice should not be seen as fuelling tribalism.

He specifically condemned those who label people who are fighting for land and genocide reparations as practising tribalism, saying the Herero and Nama people were directly affected and thus they have every right to fight for what was stolen from them during colonial times, and no one should claim otherwise.

“Now that we are talking of issues affecting our people and the future of our children, we are threatened and accused of practising tribalism. I think this is the most ridiculous charge against what we believe to be a genuine and legitimate propagation for our rights,” he charged.

He further said the affected communities will continue to fight for justice, adding that the genocide issue should not be generalised due to Namibia’s sovereignty and that only affected communities should benefit.

Kooitjie also had a message to those in politics and the mainstream economy, noting they must know his people are no longer willing to listen to or go along with situations where they are disadvantaged, and will no longer allow others to walk all over them while they do not benefit from resources in their areas.

He said although he is aware “that we are all Namibians, and everyone is entitled to any economic activities anywhere”, his people have not benefited from ‘attractive industries’ in the areas they live, while people from other regions have had the upper hand in benefitting from such economic activities.

“Look at our people – what benefits do they have from these attractive industries? Nothing! But there are other people from other regions who have shares and other benefits from these resources and we have nothing,” he said.

Kooitjie furthermore called on all young people from his community to actively take part in preserving their culture and traditional knowledge for future generations.

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