The leader of Namibia’s largest opposition party said on Tuesday, September 13, that he had written to Germany asking it for renegotiation of the genocide agreement reached last year between the two governments.
People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani says he wrote to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock last week but is yet to get a response.
In Namibia, Germany was responsible for massacres of the indigenous Herero and Nama peoples, which many historians consider the first genocide of the 20th century.
In May 2021, after more than five years of bitter negotiations, Germany announced that it recognized that it had committed “genocide” in this southern African territory, which it colonized between 1884 and 1915, and promised development aid of $1.1 billion over 30 years to benefit the descendants of the two tribes.
Germany stressed that the aid would be paid on a “voluntary basis” and that the agreement was not comparable to “reparations.”
Many Namibians rejected the agreement, saying that the descendants of the Herero and Nama had not been sufficiently involved in the negotiations and that the Windhoek government had been forced to accept the text – which was presented to the Namibian parliament a year ago but has not yet been adopted.
“Reparations have not been recognized as a consequence of the admission of genocide,” Venaani said, calling on Germany “to come back to the negotiating table and rework an agreement that would satisfy both groups.
Crimes committed in Namibia during German colonization have plagued bilateral relations for many years.
In total, at least 60,000 Hereros and about 10,000 Namas were killed between 1904 and 1908.