By Marianne Nghidengwa and Patience Nyangove
LIBERATION struggle icon and Member of Parliament, Ida Hoffmann has slammed President Hage Geingob over what she terms unfair treatment of embattled Deputy Minister of Land Reform, Bernardus Swaartbooi.
Hoffmann is also the chairperson of the Nama Genocide Technical Committee.
In an exclusive interview with Confidente Wednesday, a very emotional Hoffmann said she was shocked by Geingob’s behaviour.
“I am very shocked that the President of the country without calling these two together and hearing their side of the story orders that he (Swartbooi) should apologise to whom and for what we don’t know. It is very unfair treatment without getting the truth from the two…The President is the father of the Namibian nation and when a parent sees something wrong has been done, you call a child and reprimand them but in the meantime you give them space so the child speaks out.
“I, Ida Hoffmann held monthly meetings with my children to allow them to speak out but if you just want to use your authority and make demands that’s not right. The President likes to talk about (against) tribalism yet when he sees that tribalism is being done by other tribes he can’t reprimand them. He has forgotten that when (Sam) Nujoma kicked him out it was Clinton and I who were there for him at his farm in Otjiwarongo,” she said.
Hoffmann also said what was happening to Swaartbooi was a sign that one has to be careful or they will be silenced.
“What is happening now is a sign that you have to be careful or they will silence you. I joined Swapo in 1976 my husband nearly divorced me because he was Swanu and I was Swapo, but I have stuck with Swapo and believed in it and what Swapo stands for. I was in prison, beaten up by the Boers. I went through those things but I am still Swapo, my son hasn’t come back he disappeared in the dungeons and as a mother I am still waiting for the day my child will be found and I will say rest in peace. If it is for these things they will silence me so be it I will continue with the fight. I have no money to go to the High Court but I have the support of the masses. “Clinton’s thing is just an eye opener that you must not talk the truth. The Swapo constitution that time said you must be honest with your comrades,” she said.
Hoffman added that the land issue was a very serious matter which needed to be urgently addressed.
“The land issue now is a very serious issue. We Namas and Hereros lost land to Germans, these Germans came here changed Namibia to Deutschland and they took our ancestors’ land and when our ancestors stood up they killed them. I want to make it clear, at that time there was no political party, no government it was only intruders who came to take our land, kill our people and take our resources and that is the reason we fought for the total liberation of this country.
“When it was OPO the UN didn’t accept it as a party, it is there were the five Nama tribes led by Hendrik Witbooi, Anna Katrina Christians, Christian Goliath, Markus Cooper and Joel Stefanus that made it possible to be recognised by the UN,” she said.
Hoffman told Confidente that her wish was to see the 2006 resolution of the German genocide of the Nama/ Herero people implemented in its entirety.
“My wish is that the resolution of 2006 which was unanimously accepted by the National Assembly in the same way resolution 435 be implemented and a roundtable comprising of the Namas, Hereros and Germans seat down and talk with the Namibian government as the mediator. The Germans should issue an apology, acknowledge the genocide and do repatriation of all the skulls, papers and the bible of Hendrik Witbooi.
“But government doesn’t want to implement the resolutions as it now wants to divide and rule Namibians. We are not saying other tribes were not killed but we are saying they must speak out. Why are they quiet, they must speak out,” Hoffman said.
Meanwhile the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) says it supports the position taken by Swartbooi with regard to the process of land allocation.
“We support the call by the Deputy Minister for restorative justice as a principle that must underpin land reform in Namibia. We support his assertion that the current land reform and resettlement modus operandi is unjust towards descendants of the victims of German genocide and other communities who lost land to colonial dispossession. Swartbooi speaks for us and we shall regard any punitive measures against him as a resolve to remove his voice from the arena of relevant ideas in the struggle for equitable access to land.
Resettlement if it is to apply appropriately, must involve settling again, people who have been robbed of their land. And this principle must be different from wholesale settlement of Namibians indiscriminately, irrespective of whether they had in the past lost land. Currently, the process of Resettlement by and large benefits people who are not known to have lost traditional settlements on land, or who are not even landless. The Namibian government would buy a farm carved from land that was taken from the Nama nation and this property would be allocated to Namibians from far afield, while descendants from the Nama nation, who should have been heirs to that land, desperately watch from across the fence of the same piece of land.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015