Namibia MPs dub genocide deal with Germany 'apartheid'

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Namibia's Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila. Credit: Getty Images
Namibia's Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila. Credit: Getty Images
  • Namibia's opposition MP's have accused government of side-lining them and communities affected by the genocide during negotiations.
  • Germany has offered Namibia a 1.1 billion-euro aid package for the 20th century genocide by colonial troops.
  • From 1904 to 1908, German colonisers waged a brutal extermination campaign against the Herero and Nama people in present-day Namibia.

Namibia's government came under fire from lawmakers on Tuesday for its 1.1-billion-euro settlement with Germany, under which Berlin officially acknowledged an early 20th century genocide by colonial troops.

Opposition MPs took turns to trash the $1.3-billion deal, accusing the government of side-lining them and the communities directly affected by the genocide during negotiations that reached agreement last month.

Edson Isaacks from the opposition Landless People's Movement Namibia (LPM), equated the deal making process to apartheid and called the result a "substandard agreement".

"They have excluded communities, groups of Namibians... that is apartheid that government has practised," Isaacks said during a rowdy session in parliament.

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila opened the debate by outlining details of the agreement.

ALSO READ | 'We are not proud of the amount' – Namibia reacts to Germany’s genocide settlement

"This issue is indeed a sensitive one," the premier said, her calls for unity interrupted by heckling from members of parliament.

"It is important that we do not become divided over this issue, but remain united as a nation in pursuing it until its logical conclusion," she said.

Another LPM lawmaker, Utaara Mootu told the prime minister "you have betrayed us".

"You have not allowed for equal participation based on human rights policies. You have not given us the chance to narrate the economic trauma" caused by the genocide, she added.

The deal will be signed by the two countries' foreign ministers at date yet to be specified.

Josef Kauandenge, leader of another opposition party, the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) declared "we will not be party to any signatory for things that we did not participate" in.

"That agreement can be signed between the Germany and the Namibian government, but the vast majority of Nama and ovaHerero people will reject it with the contempt it deserves," said Kauandenge.

ALSO READ | Germany offers Namibia R18bn to heal colonial 'genocide'

The PM insisted that the affected communities were "fully consulted during the negotiations".

The country's Vice President Nangolo Mbumba last week said the 1.1-billion-euro development budget offered by Germany as compensation for the genocide was "not enough" but would be revisited as funding is rolled out.

The southern African country's government started negotiations with its former coloniser Germany in 2015 over the 1904-1908 massacre of Herero and Nama people for rebelling against their rulers.

After years of back and forth, the parties reached a landmark agreement last month in which Germany officially recognised the killings as a genocide.

The PM said the German government has agreed to "render an unconditional apology to the affected communities" and the country as whole for the genocide.

The apology will be delivered by the German president in the National Assembly on a yet to be decided date.

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