The prime minister called for unity during the scrupulous parliamentary session, but opposition lawmakers accused the government of putting them aside and the communities directly affected.
Opposition politicians in Namibia have exploited the government’s agreement with Germany while lawmakers in Windhoek have begun discussing the
reconciliation agreement envisaged by virtue of which Berlin officially recognized an initial twentieth-century genocide by colonial troops and accepted a $ 1.3 billion settlement.
The funds – which will go into development projects – are intended to be distributed over a period of 30 years.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila opened the parliamentary debate on Tuesday, explaining the details of the agreement.
“This issue is really sensitive,” he said, and his calls for unity have been interrupted by members of parliament.
“It is important that we do not become divided on this issue, but remain united as a nation in research until its logical conclusion,” he said.
But opposition politicians have again denounced the deal, accusing the government of putting them aside and of communities directly affected by the genocide during negotiations that reached an agreement last month.
“They have excluded communities, groups of Namibians … this is the apartheid that the government has practiced,” Edson Isaacks, of the opposition Namibian Landless People’s Movement (LPM), described the outcome of the treatment process as and a “lower agreement.”
Another LPM lawmaker, Utaara Mootu told Kuugongelwa-Amadhila: “You have betrayed us.”
“You have not allowed equal participation based on human rights policies. You have not given us the opportunity to narrate the economic trauma caused by the genocide,” he added.
The agreement must be ratified by both the Namibian parliament and the German parliament, after which it will be signed by the foreign ministers of the two countries.
Josef Kauandenge, leader of another opposition party, the National Democratic Organization (NUDO) said: “We will not be a party to any signatory for things we have not participated in.”
“This agreement can be signed between Germany and the Namibian government, but the vast majority of the Nama and Ovaherero people will reject it with the contempt it deserves,” Kauandenge said.
The prime minister insisted that the affected communities were “fully consulted during the negotiations”.
However, descendants of the affected communities said they were not included in the process. They demanded that the repairs be paid directly to their communities.
Last week, Namibian Vice President Nangolo Mbumba said the development budget proposed by Germany as compensation for the genocide was not “enough” but will be reviewed when funding is gone.
The German Empire conquered what is now Namibia and used it as a colony between 1884 and 1915, brutally treating the population.
The government of the southern African country began negotiations with its former colonizer Germany in 2015 over the 1904-1908 massacre of the Herero and Nama people for rebellion against their rulers.
Historians say that about 65,000 of the 85,000 Herero and at least 10,000 of the 20,000 Nama who lived here at the time were killed.
After years and years, the parties reached a landmark agreement last month in which Germany officially recognized the killing as a genocide.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the German government has agreed to “make an unconditional apology to the affected communities” and to the country at large for the genocide.
The apologies will be forwarded by the German president to the National Assembly on a date yet to be decided.