Agreed sum “not enough”: Namibia announces further payments from Berlin

Agreed amount “not enough”
Namibia announces further payments from Berlin

The unification of Germany and Namibia on a reconciliation agreement has met with sharp criticism from representatives of the Herero and Nama. Vice President Nangolo Mbumba tries to appease the population and holds out the prospect of further payments from Berlin.

After criticizing the reconciliation agreement between Germany and Namibia to come to terms with the bloody German colonial history, Vice President Nangolo Mbumba has promised further payments from Berlin. The sum of 1.1 billion euros agreed in the agreement in reconstruction aid for the ethnic groups particularly affected by the colonial crimes is admittedly “not enough,” said Mbumba. But Germany agreed to “reconsider and renegotiate” the amount when implementing the agreement.

The Namibian Vice President called on the population to “think carefully” about their reaction to the agreement. “We have made remarkable progress in the negotiations over the past five years and we should not waste this opportunity,” he said in his address to the nation. The agreement has yet to be ratified by Parliament.

Last Friday it became known that Germany would officially recognize the crimes of German colonial troops against the Herero and Nama ethnic groups in what is now Namibia at the beginning of the 20th century as genocide and ask the victims’ descendants for forgiveness. As a “gesture of recognition”, Germany also pledged 1.1 billion euros in reconstruction aid. The money is to be paid out over a period of 30 years and will primarily flow into social projects in the Herero and Nama settlement areas.

Representatives of the Herero and Nama had sharply criticized the agreement and complained, among other things, of the lack of participation of representatives of victims’ groups in the negotiations. They also criticized the fact that Germany does not pay any direct compensation to the victims’ descendants. However, the federal government expressly rejects reparations. She takes the position that she cannot legally accept responsibility for the genocide because the relevant UN genocide convention was only passed in 1948.

Namibia – then German South West Africa – was a German colony from 1884 to 1915. Herero and Nama uprisings brutally suppressed the German colonial troops. The then German governor Lothar von Trotha later ordered the scheduled annihilation of the two ethnic groups. Historians speak of the first genocide of the 20th century.