Namibian National Assembly (2006): Motion on the OvaHerero Genocide

Screenshot cover National Assembly Namibia Motion OvaHerero Genocide 2006 Kuaima Riruako

Motion on the OvaHerero Genocide,

tabled in the National Assembly of Namibia by Kuaima Riruako, Member of Parliament and Chief of the OvaHerero, on 26 September 2006 and adopted by the National Assembly on 26 October 2006 (source: OvaHerero Genocide Foundation (OGF)).

MOTION ON THE OVAHERERO GENOCIDE

HON. SPEAKER, THERE IS ABUNDANCE OF PROOF THAT AFRICA WAS THE

CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION, CENTURIES BEFORE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.

(…)

HON. SPEAKER, DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICA WAS INTERRUPTED SOMETIME AROUND THE 14TH CENTURIES BY THE HEINOUS INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY. SLAVERY ROBBED AFRICA OF HER BEST AND STRONGEST MEN, WOMEN AND CHATTEL, LIKE GOATS AND PIGS TO THE ISLAND OF THE CARIBBEAN, UNITED STATES AND BRAZIL. THE RESULTS OF THEIR WORK AS SLAVES WERE TO ENRICH THE COUNTRIES OF THEIR MASTERS. THOSE COUNTRIES BECAME RICH, AND THE SLAVES, AFRICAN MEN AND WOMEN REMAINED POOR.

(…)

HON. SPEAKER, SIR, AND THE FIRST GERMANS WHOLESALE KILLING OF THE 19TH CENTURY WAS COMMITTED ON THE PEOPLE OF A COUNTRY WE NOW CALL NAMIBIA. WE ARE THE SURVIVORS OF THE FIRST GENOCIDE EVER COMMITTED IN AFRICA,

THE OVAHERERO WAS THE ONLY GROUP SINGLED OUT TO BE EXTERMINATED BY AN OFFICIAL LEGAL ORDER THE INFAMOUS EXTERMINATION ORDER, HOWEVER WE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT OTHER GROUPS SUCH AS THE DAMARAS AND NAMAS WERE HEAVILY AFFECTED BY THE GERMAN COLONIALISM. HON.SPEAKER IN 1880’S THE GERMAN AUTHORITIES STARTED TO CONTROL A SMALL PART OF NAMIBIA, BUT BY 1890, TEN YEARS LATER, THEY SPREAD FURTHER. THE GERMAN SETTLERS TOOK MORE AND MORE LAND AND CATTLE FROM THE OVAHERERO.

HON. SPEAKER, SIR, LARGE PIECE OF LAND WAS TAKEN BY THE GERMANS AND REMAINED FENCED TO THIS DAY. IT IS A WELL KNOWN FACT THAT CATTLE ARE A NECESSITY IN THE LIFE OF THE OVAHERERO, FOR OVAHERERO WITHOUT CATTLE AND LAND COULD HARDLY SURVIVE. THE GERMAN COLONIAL RULE WAS OPPRESSIVE AND CRUEL. THE SITUATION BECAME SO INTOLERABLE THAT ON 12TH JANUARY 1904 THE OVAHERERO UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF SAMUEL MAHARERO, TOOK UP ARMS AND THE FIRST OVAHERERO-GERMAN WAR STARTED IN OKAHANDJA AND SPREAD TO OKANDJIRA AND EVENTUALLY CULMINATED IN THE OHAMAKARI BATTLE. STILL THE GERMANS WERE NOT SATISFIED AND ON 2ND OCTOBER 1904 GENERAL LOTHAR VON TROTHA ISSUED HIS INFAMOUS EXTERMINATION ORDER AT OZOMBU ZOVINDIMBA IN THE OTJINENE CONSTITUENCY, OMAHEKE REGION. HON. SPEAKER, I WOULD LIKE TOQUOTE THIS ORDER: “I THE GREAT GENERAL OF THE GERMAN TROOPS SEND THIS LETTER TO THE HERERO PEOPLE, HEREROS ARE NO LONGER GERMAN SUBJECTS. ALL HEREROS MUST LEAVE THE LAND. IF THE PEOPLE DO NOT WANT THIS THEN I WILL FORCE THEM TO DO SO WITH A GREAT GUN. ANY HERERO FOUND WITHIN THE GERMAN BORDERS WITH OR WITHOUT A GUN, WITH OR WITHOUT CATTLE, WILL BE SHOT. I SHALL NO LONGER RECEIVE ANY WOMEN AND CHILDREN. I WILL DRIVE THEM BACK TO THEIR PEOPLE OR I WILL SHOOT THEM. THIS IS MY DECISION FOR THE HERERO PEOPLE” SIGNED THE GREAT GENERAL OF THE MIGHTY KAISER WILLEM II.

HON. SPEAKER, HON. MEMBERS, ALLOW ME TO HIGHLIGHT THE ISSUE OF GENOCIDE AND REPARATION. I WOULD LIKE TO SPELL OUT WHAT THESE ARE. THE UNITED NATIONS DEFINES GENOCIDE AS “THE DELIBERATE AND SYSTEMATIC DESTRUCTION OF A RACIAL, ETHNICAL, POLITICAL OR CULTURAL GROUP, IN WHOLE OR IN PART. IT IS THE ACT OF KILLING MEMBERS OF A GROUP IN WHOLE OR IN PART. THE GERMAN EXTERMINATION ORDER WAS INTENDED TO WIPE OUT THE WHOLE OVAHERERO ETHNIC GROUP AND WHEN IT WAS IMPLEMENTED IT REDUCED THE OVAHERERO FROM 100,000 TO A MERE 15,000.

REPARATION IS THE ACT OF REPAIRING A WRONG OR AN INJURY TO A PERSON OR NATION. WE ALL UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLE OF REPARATION. IF YOU BREAK SOMETHING THAT BELONGS TO SOMEONE ELSE YOU MUST REPAIR IT. IF YOU STEAL SOMETHING YOU GIVE IT BACK.

(…)

IT IS ON THAT BASIS, HON. SPEAKER, AND HON. MEMBERS THAT I ON BEHALF OF MY PEOPLE, THE OVAHERERO HAVE LAUNCHED A LEGAL CHALLENGE IN THE COURTS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEMANDING AND CLAIMING REPARATION FROM THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT FOR THE ATROCITIES AND GENOCIDE COMMITTED AGAINST OUR FOREFATHERS AND MOTHERS.

(…)

HON. SPEAKER, SIR, OUR DEMAND FOR REPARATION IS IN LINE WITH INTERNATIONAL DEMAND, THEREFORE, IT NEEDS OUR COLLECTIVE AND PATRIOTIC SUPPORT AS A NATION.

(…)

ON 14TH AUGUST 2004 DURING THE CENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION AT OHAMAKARI, THE GERMAN PARLIAMENTARIAN AND MINISTER OF ECONOMIC COOPERATION HON. HEIDEMARIE WIECZORECK – ZEUL SAID IN HER SPEECH THAT “THE ATROCITIES COMMITTED AT THE TIME WOULD TO DAY BE TERMED GENOCIDE AND NOWADAYS GERMAN COLONIAL TROOPS UNDER GENERAL LOTHAR VON THROTHA WOULD BE PROSECUTE AND CONVICTED”.

HON. SPEAKER HON. MEMBERS, THE HON. MINISTER WENT ON AND PLEADED FOR FORGIVENESS AND SAID “WE GERMANS ACCEPTED OUR HISTORICAL AND MORAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND THE INJURY INCURRED BY GERMAN AT THE TIME. AND SO IN THE WORDS OF THE LORDS PRAYER, I ASK YOU TO FORGIVE US FOR OUR TRESS PASSES”

(…)

THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT SHOULD REALIZE THAT THE NAMIBIANS THROUGH THEIR LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT HAS THE RIGHT TO DECIDE FOR THEM, IT IS THEREFORE, CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT THAT THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT COME TO TERMS WITH REALITY AND STOP UNDER ESTIMATING THE COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE OF THE AFRICAN PEOPLE IN GENERAL AND THE NAMIBIANS IN PARTICULAR.

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