Vice president Nangolo Mbumba on Friday said Namibia has been on the road to get Germany to account for the genocide since the start of independence. Mbumba is addressing the nation from State House on the negotiations on the 1904-1908 genocide.
Mbumba said the duty of Namibia’s special envoy Zed Ngavirue was to negotiate with the German government and be the focal person during this process.
“Namibia’s negotiating strategy are (a) Cabinet appointed a special committee chaired by the country’s vice president along with a technical committee composed of experts and affected communities (b) the special committee then formed another chief’s forum of chiefs and traditional leaders where they provided input.
“And thirdly, the special committee had field visits to the regions where the affected communities reside as well as NGOs,” he explained.
Mbumba said during the negotiation process, there was much resistance from the German counterparts.
“They refused to pay reparations,” he said.
Mbumba said Namibia has agreed to the joint agreement which details the apology, acknowledgement of genocide and payment of reparations by Germany.
“The payment of reparations were the most difficult part. Germany has accepted a moral obligation to pay money,” he said.
Mbumba said the reparation package was referred to as “the elephant in the room”.
“I am fully aware that the reparation amount was a highly contested amount. The quantum amount submitted, which was countered by Germany and was much less, which was totally unacceptable. It almost brought it to a deadlock,” he explained.
Namibia will set up an implementation body to ensure that the affected communities will benefit. “The money will then be deposited in an account and not used for other government programmes,” Mbumba assured.
The £1,1 billion offer is the reparations that Germany is going to pay despite the European country calling it reconciliation and reconstruction, the vice president said.
“We are not proud of the amount,” Mbumba said.
The implementation programmes under the joint declaration will kick in only after the government has done an assessment of the areas where the affected communities reside, said Bank of Namibia deputy governor Ebson Uanguta, who was one of the Namibian negotiators.