Timeline for OvaHerero reparations
Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 08:00
The Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro has set 2 October 2015 as deadline for a tripartite agreement to be concluded between the Ovaherero, German and Namibian Governments with regard to the Ovaherero plight for reparations.
Rukoro set the timeline during his mini-maiden address at the Ovaherero Commando Hall in Katutura last week (2 October) to coincide with the 104th commemoration of the extermination order by General Lotha von Trotha, who, on behalf of the German Empire, ordered the German colonial troops in the then South West Africa “to kill all Hereros, spare no soul and take no prisoners.” The order was given on 2 October 1908, at Ozombuzovindimba, 20km north-east of Otjinene village, after a four year campaign that started in 1904.
The newly-installed Paramount Chief allayed the fears of the descendants of the colonialists that the progenies of the Ovaherero harbour no evil to Germans in Namibia. Instead, the Ovaherero are determined to force the German government to take responsibility for the Ovaherero and Namas as no amount of procrastination will derail their plight any longer. “As for our government, we do not want to repeat what the pioneers of the Namibian struggle and struggles elsewhere for land have done in efforts to get the land back. We want to believe that we shall reach an amicable solution with the German government that will prominently involve the Namibian government at centre stage. But, nothing will be done for us without us.”
“We plead with the German government to please stop running in circles and talk to us, while we still have the patience to do so. Please hear our plea and trust us, for we have proven our bona fides and good intentions by hosting your children on the land of the Ovaherero in Namibia,” Rukoro urged.
Rukoro further pleaded with the Namibian Government to take the plight of Ovaherero with the seriousness it deserves. “The Namibian Government is our government; we fought for it and participated in its management and administration. Anywhere in the world, regimes have failed when they attempted to negotiate for the people they excluded from the act of negotiating, and our case cannot be an exception.”
Though the German extermination order was clearly intended to finish the Ovaherero, he observed that some people were at pains to belatedly assemble human skulls and bones as evidence that other people were also exterminated. “We acknowledge that Germans killed many people in Namibia and elsewhere, but the primary targets of their extermination order were the Ovaherero and Namas of Namibia and they ultimately fell to the scorched earth policy of the German Crown.”