September 27, 2004

Dialogue needed with Germany on colonial atrocities, says Government

According to the government, it was necessary to engage in debate with Germany on atrocities committed against the Hereros by the German colonialists. Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Erkki Nghimtina said in the National Assembly that the genocide had to be viewed in the context of Namibia's historical struggle against colonial oppression and subjugation. He was responding to a question in the National Assembly by Congress of Democrats leader Ben Ulenga on what official action Government intended taking to ensure compensation for the families of the victims. As Nghimtina has said, the Government's position on compensation had been consistent and that it did not dispute Chief Kuaima Riruako's attempt to fight for this through the courts.
Nghimtina also echoed a statement made by Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab following an apology by German Minister for Development Co-operation Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul during a visit in August: that dialogue must start between the two countries. Gurirab stressed that Namibians should adopt a common position on the issue. Nghimtina believed that the apology would strengthen relations between Namibia and Germany. "Both our countries have an understanding on the importance of the debate on this matter, and such a debate here in Namibia and in Germany is normal and necessary," said Nghimtina. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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