Windhoek-National Youth Council (NYC) Executive Chairperson Mandela Kapere says he is disturbed by the comment allegedly made by the German Ambassador to Namibia, Christian Schlaga, at State House last week.
Schlaga allegedly said that “Germany paid more per capita to Namibia in development aid compared to any other African country.”
Schlaga supposedly said this when responding to President Hage Geingob who had asked the European ambassadors what they have done, or are doing, to help Namibia address the legacy of structural injustice of poverty that has its roots in the colonial past of the country.
Geingob last week had a meeting with EU Ambassador to Namibia Jana Hybaskova, Schlaga, Spanish Ambassador Concha Figuerola, and a representative for Pirkko-Liisa Kyostila, the Finnish ambassador, to discuss how the EU could align its development assistance to Namibia’s fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) and the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
“I was extremely concerned by the out-of-context boasting of Schlaga regarding the so-called ‘highest per capita income aid to Namibia’,” said Kapere.
He said in his opinion such a boastful remark was extremely insensitive and crude to the extent it may have bordered on being insulting.
Kapere says Schlaga’s comment can be compared to the now infamous remark made by then Secretary of State for International Development in the Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, Clare Short, on Zimbabwe with regard to Britain’s obligation to land reform in that country.
“At best, this view represents a total lack of sincerity on the part of the German government in respect of the ongoing negotiations between our two governments, and at worst a continued arrogance in European foreign policy towards Africa in general,” he said.
Kapere says the remark made by Schlaga was an ill-fated attempt at intellectual shrewdness but can in the final analysis only be seen as being disrespectful towards Namibian people.
“Schlaga conveniently forgets that Germany was responsible for but never formally acknowledged and apologised for the first genocide of the 20th Century committed by his country from 1904 to 1908 against the people of Namibia, in order to extend ‘lebensraum’ for Germans,” he said.
He said the type of conduct as displayed by Schlaga is unbecoming for an ambassador whose mission is supposed to be to establish understanding and goodwill between the peoples of the sending and receiving states.
“Schlaga demonstrates through his derisive comments to the Namibian people that he does not understand the full extent of the moral, social and economic injustices perpetrated by his forebears on the Namibian people,” he said.
“If he did, he would not have shrugged off the president’s concerns,” he added.
Kapere says shoving the notion that Germany gives the highest per capita aid to Namibia since independence into the Namibian people’s faces, Schlaga deliberately attempts to obfuscate historical reality and deny that Namibians deserve the same treatment, for “moral compelling reasons”, that were and are proffered as justification for the atonement vis-à-vis the state of Israel.
“Does he seek to suggest that black lives do not matter in the eyes of Germany? Why then this attempt to negate the struggle of Namibians against the legacy of German colonial rule in Namibia?”
“I for these reasons call on the Federal Republic of Germany to call the German ambassador to order,” he said.