Namibian opposition criticises genocide compensation deal with Germany

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Namibian opposition lawmakers during a heated parliamentary debate on Wednesday criticised a 1.1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) compensation offer from Germany for its 1904-1908 genocide in the southwest African country and called on the government to renegotiate terms.

Namibia’s government said in May that Germany had agreed to fund projects over 30 years to atone for killings and property seizures more than a century ago that killed tens of thousands of Namibians who defied German colonial rule.

However, opposition parties and traditional leaders from affected communities are angry about the offer, as they say it is too small and that they were not involved in the negotiations.

On Tuesday, around 300 protesters stormed Namibia’s parliament when Germany’s offer was tabled.

“That document does not address our issues, it does speak about reparations and genocide. It is speaking about reconstruction,” president of the opposition NUDO party, Esther Muinjangue, said during Wednesday’s debate.

“We are not asking for reconstruction, you committed genocide and for that you pay reparations. Simple as that,” Muinjangue added.

Another opposition leader, RDP president Mike Kavekotora, said the Namibian government should at least get $9 billion from Germany as compensation for the atrocities committed against the Herero and Nama people.

Defence Minister Frans Kapofi, of the governing SWAPO party, acknowledged the agreement with Germany fell short of affected communities’ expectations, but said negotiations had been tough.

The government’s main aim was to secure an acknowledgement from Germany that its imperial troops had committed genocide, he said.

Proceedings were adjourned until Thursday, when more lawmakers will give their views before a vote is held.

 

Reuters/Olajumoke Adeleke

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