Windhoek – Namibian President Hage Geingob will meet the Ovaherero and Nama communities to deliberate on the next steps following the conclusion of engagements between his government and Germany over how the latter can try and make amends for the 1904-1907 genocide in the Southern African country.
There are indications that Germany has agreed to pay reparations, and that the president of the European country, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, will offer a formal apology in the Namibian parliament.
However, it appears Germany is reluctant to admit to the term “genocide”, even though its colonial troops massacred tens of thousands of Ovaherero and Nama. The mass killings of about three-quarters of the Ovaherero and Nama population are often referred to as the first genocide of the 20th century, and have been called a “dry run” of the Jewish Holocaust a few decades later.
President Geingob’s Press Secretary, Dr Alfredo Hengari, told The Southern Times this week that the Head of State and Government was due to receive a report from his special envoy in the talks with Germany, Dr Zed Ngavirue. After that he will engage the affected communities before making a public pronouncement on the details of the agreement sealed with Germany.
“Unfortunately that is all I can reveal for now; the Head of State will announce what the deal with Germans entails after meeting the affected communities,” Dr Hengari said.
Dr Ngavirue told The Southern Times that the last round of engagements last week were fruitful and cordial.
“Whatever I say now will not be right protocol-wise. My first port of call is to brief the President and I will do so today (Wednesday). But in general we concluded the engagements and they were fruitful and the President will give details in due course,” Dr Ngavirue said.
Associated Press reported the German government confirming a deal had been reached after six years of formal engagements on one of the worst atrocities Africa has seen.
Germany Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Ms Andrea Sasse told reporters in Berlin that, “We are in the home stretch on this issue,” adding that negotiations with the Namibian Government had been “very constructive”.
Ms Sasse said representatives of the affected communities had been involved in the negotiations, though Germany’s direct dealings were with the Namibian government.
In 1904, German colonial forces started a pogrom in Namibia at whose end in 1908 saw the Ovaherero and Nama population falling from a combined 100,000 to 25,000. Besides murder, the Germans built concentration camps where they tortured Namibians and conducted medical experiments on them.