Press Release: The “Hidden Agenda” Claim of the German Ambassador and the Return of 13 Skulls from Germany
In reacting to the German Ambassador to Namibia, Egon Kochanke, who was quoted last week as saying Namibians who collected the skulls from Germany had a hidden agenda and had created a negative impression about bilateral relations between the two countries, the OCD-1904 would like to state the following:
- The Namibians who collected the skulls from Germany had an Open Agenda and not a hidden agenda as claimed by the Ambassador. Our Agenda has always been open and will remain open for the generations to come despite the intransigence of the German Government to acknowledge the Genocide committed against the Namibian people and to meet our demand for appropriate restorative justice.
- We did not only loose our ancestral land rights but properties including livestock which the descendants of the former German colonialists inherited to be their fundamental rights. Our deteriorating socio-economic conditions are the living reality of the impact of the Genocide on the current generation of the communities exterminated by the German Imperial Government during 1884 to 1908.
- We are citizens of a nation born out of democratic principles and the rule of law, hence; our resolve to address this awkward situation was geared towards a proposed Structured Dialogue between the affected communities and the German Government under the facilitation of the Namibian Government. This proposal was officially communicated to the German authorities through various ambassadors who preceded His Excellency Egon Kochanke, who appears to be a complete insensitive, arrogant and stubborn diplomat.
- It is regrettable for OCD-1904 to experience these strange and undemocratic behaviours by a Government which was part of the Contact Group that negotiated a democratic process leading to free and fair elections in Namibia under the UN Resolution 435 in 1989.
Germany’s refusal to sit at negotiating table with the affected communities, while hiding behind development aid to Namibian Government will remain a thorn in a flesh of every descendant of the Namibian communities affected by the 1884 -1908 Genocide.
- The German Ambassador must be rest assured that the affected communities will use all opportunities at their disposal to convince the German Government that Dialogue is the best viable option to address the historical problems between our two peoples. The unilateral delivery of development assistance to our Government in the form of ‘hidden lobolla’ (bride price) is not the answer to Germany’s historical responsibility over Namibia. What is your ‘hidden agenda’ in the current development aid to Namibia? We are open to be properly and genuinely informed about your development agenda in Namibia, however like all other human beings, our patience has a limit which may not be in the best interest of our people!
RETURN OF 13 SKULLS FROM GERMANY
- The OCD-1904 learned from local media and German sympathizers that 13 more skulls of Namibians victims of the German colonial war of extermination have been positively identified at Freiburg University in the southwest of Germany. We therefore have to state the following:
- Our past experience during the preparation for the first repatriation of the 20 skulls from Germany was a learning process that should serve as guidance in our future handling of the skulls and genocide related issues. The OCD-1904 would expect our Government to broadly consult all stakeholders and to coordinate all the activities relating to the repatriation of Namibian skulls in the best interest of Namibia and all its primary stakeholders.
- OCD-1904 is hoping and appealing to our Government that relevant African cultural norms and practices should be observed during the repatriation of all human remains from Germany now and in future and the handling of other remains within Namibia. We trust that our Government is not going to sell this nation for the sake of the so-called ‘developmental aid’ by conniving with Namibia’s past colonialists in silently returning the remains of our ancestors without our full involvement and participation.
- In conclusion, the OCD-1904 reiterates its appeal to the Namibian people to distance themselves from all evils of party-politicking in Genocide issues and to unite for the common cause of demanding restorative justice for the genocide committed against our people.
Windhoek, 24 November 2011
Ueriuka F. Tjikuua
Secretary: OCD-1904 Technical Committee
OVAHERERO/OVAMBANDERU COUNCIL FOR THE DIALOGUE ON THE 1904 GENOCIDE (OCD-1904)
p.p. Supreme Chief Alphons K. Maharero