Kaapehi demands inclusivity in German-Namibian talks

Swakopmund Councillor Uahimisa Kaapehi has called on the German and Namibian Government to “go home and halt the ongoing pretentious engagements.” He made these remarks during the official visit in Swakopmund by Ruprech Polenz, Special Envoy for the German-Namibian talks on genocide negotiations, on Wednesday this week.

About 20 members of the Ovaherero community met with Polenz at the Marine-denkmal in Swakopmund. Polenz visited various sites in the coastal town forming part of his third visit to the country. At the monument situated next to the State House Kaapehi read his prepared speech.
“The two governments must just awaken from their dreams, get serious and come and speak to my people. Only then would the real business begin,” he said. Kaapehi reminded Polenz of his appointment to lead negotiations on Genocide and find a solution. “But with due respect, Mr Polenz, you yet need to prove yourself differently in this regard and that your appointment was and would be meaningful. Your appointment would only be meaningful when you and your Namibian counterpart engineer a lasting solution to this matter (sic), he said.
In his speech Kaapehi referred to himself as “a product of part of the brutalities which were visited upon my ancestors, by the Ger-man ancestors in Imperial Germany.” “How can I really forget as much as I can forgive? Because, I am a haunted being. I am wretched of the earth.
Not because of some divinity but because of the inhumanity of fellow human beings,” he said.
Polenz, who was accompanied by a small delegation including the German ambassador to Namibia, Matthias Schlaga, replied by saying that the tragic events of the past “won’t be forgotten in Namibia or Germany.” “This is my third visit to Namibia and I try to speak to all affected communities.
During my second visit I travelled to Lüderitz-bucht and visited the Frederick and Witbooi families on the way,” he said.
Polenz reminded Kaapehi that current negotiations are taking place between the two respective governments and that a special committee was established to lead the Namibian talks. “Your legitimate interests are included in the negotiations,” Polenz said and added that “we are doing from our side what we can.”
Present amongst the Ovahereros was Swakopmund community activist Laidlaw Peringanda, who has for the past months been rooting to have the Swakopmund Marine-denkmal removed. He did not speak during the official event though.

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