… Slams omission of genocide, other historical events
By Eliaser Ndeyanale
OPPOSITION parties have slammed the recently tabled Policy on International Relations and Cooperation, saying it does not recognise the role that they played in the liberation struggle, as well as the German genocide, perpetrated against the Nama and OvaHerero.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, tabled the updated policy in parliament last week, which she said was necessitated by the rapidly changing global environment, and the impact it has on the country.
During the debate in the National Assembly debate, Swanu legislator Usutuaije Maamberua criticised the 63-page document for not being “balanced, fair and inclusive”. He said the document does not mention anything about the 1904 to 1908 German genocide, which forced hundreds of OvaHerero and Nama to flee into exile in Botswana and South Africa.
“The policy also has to be shaped by the entire diplomatic effort waged at the United Nations, through the Organisation of African Unity. I think that historic epoch cannot be left out. Foreign policy must also be influenced by the early petitioners to the United Nations,” he said.
Swanu founding president, Fanuel Kozonguizi, had served as permanent petitioner to the United Nations on the issue of Namibian independence, prior the country gaining freedom in 1990.
Maamberua further said that foreign policy must not only limit itself to the period of the liberation struggle, which is understood to have started in 1966.
He pointed to the exclusion of the Old Location uprising on 10 December 1959, which was organised by Swanu, as a “serious omission”.
The apartheid government killed 11 people and seriously wounded 44 others, during the uprising.
DTA leader McHenry Venaani disputed a paragraph in the document, which states that in May 1984, Namibian political parties of the time were cobbled together and taken to Zambia by then South African Prime Minister, Pieter Willem Botha, to meet with Swapo and reach a consensus on settlement formula that would lead to the implementation of UN Resolution 435.
“Why tell lies? Why say that political parties that were in this country were cobbled together? These political parties formed a convention, of which Swapo was a part of.
“We must recognise geographical realities, because our history has been influenced by geographical realities,” Venaani said.
He also disputed the issue of who were the first petitioners to bodies like the League of Nations and the United Nations.
“How can people that were not in Windhoek institute first petitions? Who can you talk about foreign policy without mentioning Tsekedi Khama, who met Frederick Maharero in Botswana, and advised him that there is an international body, the League of Nations?”
He said that the updated foreign policy will be incomplete without the mentioning of Reverend Michael Scott, Tsekedi Khama and Frederick Maharero, the oldest son of exiled OvaHerero chief, Samuel Maharero, who campaigned for the self-determination of the people of Namibia.
Venaani also questioned why Professor Mburumba Kerina’s political journey to the United Nations has not been recorded in the document.
Kerina was among the first petitioners to the United Nations for Namibia’s independence, and acted on behalf of the Herero Chiefs’ Council.
Other early petitioners were Scott, Chief Hosea Kutako, Hans Beukes, Markus Kooper, Ismael Fortune and [Fanuel Jariretundu] Kozonguizi.
“His (Kerina’s) story is known and has been deliberately omitted. Why is he not accorded a national order? There is tribalism in conferring of national orders,” Venaani charged.
Gender Equality and Child Welfare Minister, Doreen Sioka, said Venaani was insulting her party with his questions.
“Don’t insult us, the DTA never supported independence and some of us ran away because of this party… don’t try to be a champion of insulting others,” she cautioned.
Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Peya Mushelenga, said the document is a guiding one and does not need to be based on all historic events.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015