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Legislature has a role to play in genocide says Speaker, 30 August 2018

: Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi (right) with visiting German MP, Hon. Wolfgang Stefinger

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi says both the Namibian and German Parliaments have a critical role to play in the finalization of the genocide negations between the two countries. Hon. Katjavivi made this plea when German member of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Wolfgang Stefinger paid a courtesy call today (30/08/18).

As part of efforts made by the legislature concerning the issue, Hon. Katjavivi noted that he led a delegation of MPs to German in 2013 to seek dialogue between the two countries. “We visited Berlin in 2013 and a report was compiled. Our aim was for the two countries to have a dialogue over the issue and German MPs were receptive to the idea of a dialogue”, said Katjavivi.

He further noted that the two countries have continuously showed interest in resolving the genocide issue as can be attested by the appointment of a special envoy, a process that kick started the talks. He urged the two parliament to continue to assist in the negotiations. “We currently have the discussion taking place between our two countries through a special envoy. The Namibian and German Parliaments should step in whenever required to assist. There is goodwill to wanting to succeed from both parties”, said the Speaker.

 

He was also happy that the German government has accepted the 1904/ 1908 massacre as a genocide. “The acceptance by German for the event to be classified as genocide, something that was not the case in the past, is a step in the right direction. We now need to be bold and show leadership as we find a solution”, implored Katjavivi.

The mass ethnic killings of the Hereros and Nama by German colonial troops took place between 1904 and 1908 following their uprising. More than 100 000 people were exterminated. Some of the victims were beheaded, and their skulls sent to Germany for scientific experiments.

Katjavivi further appealed for Parliamentary cooperation and other areas such as vocational training. “We have to prioritise vocational training and German being a leader in this sector, it may play an important role in its development. Namibia also has a multi-party democracy that needs to be nurtured. It’s important that the Namibian parliament continues to play a critical role in oversight in order to hold government to account. We therefore need to strengthen our mechanisms in order to empower our Members of Parliament”, said the Speaker. Hon. Wolfgang on his part noted that German was ready to bolster the already existing relations, hailing Namibia’s multi-party democracy he believes could be emulated by other countries. “We recognize the special relations between our two countries. We look forward to strengthening the relations not only on a political level but even economically”, pledged the German MP.

The German MP is in the country as part of a delegation sent to observe a ceremony to mark the return of 27 human remains of the victims of the genocide.

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