Chief Rukoro has had it with Germany


06 April 2018 | Cultural

Otis Finck

Ovaherero paramount chief adv. Vekuii Rukoro has warned that if the German government does not see the sense in sitting down at the negotiations table in a peaceful and civilized manner and to face the true representatives of the people to negotiate a peaceful and lasting settlement, they will leave the Ovaherero and Nama no choice but to do what a man has to do in defence of his people.

“Our ancestors resisted the uninvited colonisation and occupation of their motherland by Germany and the brutal repression that followed. This resulted in the subsequent naked act of genocide declared first against the Ovaherero and later against the Nama people between 1904 and 1908.

“Approximately 80% of the Ovaherero and 50% of the Nama people were basically liquidated from the face of Namibia by the Germans during the 1904-1908 genocide. This is the unfinished business I am referring to,” Rukoro told his subjects at the 11th Ovaherero reparation walk in Swakopmund on 31 March.

Rukoro accused the Namibian and German governments of coming together and starting discussions while totally excluding the victims.

“Germany owes the victims an apology and they are entitled to reparations in terms of international law. However, a resolution that called for discussions between Germany, representatives of the affected communities and the Namibian government remains unimplemented.”

According to Rukoro, Germany does not want to create a precedent by paying reparations and does not want to spend money to pay reparations to what it considers to be two small native nations in Southern Africa.

Rukoro further stated that Germany gladly volunteered to continue supplying development aid for many more years to come.

“The two governments agreed shortly after Independence via a secret agreement which was uncovered, that Germany would rather provide generous development aid such as funding infrastructure projects, vocational training centres, housing developments and solar power stations instead of reparations to the Ovaherero and Nama people. German development aid thus makes the payment of reparations void. Hence the need to exclude the two representatives of the victim groups from discussions between the two governments.”

The German embassy in Windhoek stated via a press release issued on 4 April that neither the current nor the previous German government has ever signed such an alleged agreement and that it does not exist. The embassy called on Rukoro to prove his allegations by presenting the alleged agreement to the public, adding that as long as he remains unable to do so, he and others should refrain from repeating this allegation.

Rukoro previously stated that an apology without reparations would constitute an insult to the intelligence of Namibians and the descendants of the victim communities.

Due to this situation, the Ovaherero and Nama tribes had no other option but to pursue other avenues to hold Germany accountable for its brutal act of genocide and decided to take legal action.

A legal suit for genocide, illegally confiscating livestock and properties of ancestors which would have been inherited by those alive today, was filed at district court in New York. The case was postponed to 3 May to give Germany an opportunity to prepare a proper defence.

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