Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo says he is worried by the genocide debate in parliament, which he claims, has become “divisive”, and at times turned into mudslinging.
“I am troubled by how the conversation has gone thus far. It is now so apparent that the debate has become so divisive. We call each other names. We refer to each other as puppets and sell-outs,” Alweendo said on Tuesday.
He said this while contributing to the genocide debate currently under discussion in parliament. Germany massacred an estimated 80 000 Ovaherero and Namas at the turn of the 20th century, and this year it agreed to apologise for the genocide and extend financial assistance of N$18 billion in project funding over 30 years to the descendants of affected communities. “I am afraid that should we continue with this path, then the legacy left by the divide and rule philosophy will continue to flourish. As a nation, we have had difficult conversations before, and we will have them again going forward,” said Alweendo.
“What we have today is one of those difficult conversations. Let us make use of this opportunity presented to us to forge strong alliances beyond our tribal boundaries. Let us use this sad reality to refuel our resolve to unite and our quest for nationhood.”
“We demanded three things – that Germany accepts that it committed genocide; that they apologise; and that they pay reparation,” he said.
Alweendo said the Namibian negotiation team, led by the late ambassador Zed Ngavirue achieved all three demands, as it was put on the table.
“The German government accepted that what happened in 1904 was indeed a genocide; they agreed to apologise; and they agreed to pay reparation,” Alweendo said. Alweendo said having followed the parliament debate, it is his sense that most MPs agree that the Namibians first two demands have been met to some degree of satisfaction. However, he said MPs are not satisfied with the third demand – that of reparation. “None of us are satisfied with the level of reparation that Germany is prepared to pay. We believe that, although one can never fully compensate for lives lost, an amount of euro 1.1 billion is woefully too insignificant and not commensurate with the act of genocide that was committed.
Alweendo said not only is the amount not commensurate with the offences committed, but it is also to be made available over an inordinately long time period of 30 years – disregarding the time value of money.