14 thought leaders Friday, February 9 2018| NEW ERA Exit reparations enter reconciliation projects The media was last week awash with reports about a “reconciliation fund” which the government of the Federal Republic of Namibia, in particular their diplomatic envoy in Namibia, the German ambassador Christian Schlaga, has been keeping in his briefcase. For how long the ambassador has been keeping this document in his briefcase is not known but any ardent observer of the genocide and reparation case between the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, and descendants of the victims of the 1904-1908 genocide, can surely not take too much guessing how long this document may have been in the ambassador’s briefcase. Because the concept of a reconciliation fund has very much been part of the agenda of the German government since the demand of the victims of the 1904-1908 genocide started to pick up momentum shortly after the centenary commemoration of the genocide in 2004. Many may recall that during the buildup to the centenary commemoration of the genocide in 2004, the issue of reconciliation was popped up by the churches, with the particular mention of Bishop Reinhardt Keding of DELK (the German-speaking Lutheran Church in Namibia), and Bishop Zephania Kameeta. “Our prime goal in our bilateral cooperation is to help Namibia overcome poverty and strengthen its economy and infrastructure,” said then German ambassador to Namibia, Dr Wolfgang Massing in 2004 during the centenary commemoration in Okahandja. Following the centenary commemoration of the Battle of Ohamakari in August 2004, then German Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, introduced the Special Initiative. This underlines of the German government as far as the issue of genocide and reparation is concerned, in the words of Ambassador Massing way back in 2004, has been the policy: “The German Government lives up to its historical responsibility by establishing a special relationship with independent Namibia. Since 1990, Namibia has been receiving more than 500 million Euro for its own development.” Thus, in this context and background it is dif- see the said proposals for reconciliation projects as per Schlaga differently from the age-old position of the German government as has been evidenced by bilateral aid between Namibia and Germany, including the Special Initiative. The same time the media revealed the existence of the proposals on reconciliation projects a team of the victims of genocide has been crisscrossing the country. And their mission could not have been mistaken. In the words of the members of this roadshow, this has been to consult people in areas affected by the 1904-1908 genocide. Bluntly put, to consult the victims of genocide. The Namibian government’s special envoy on the genocide and reparations negotiations, could also not have been anything but categorically clear yesterday morning on NBC’s Otjiherero language service current affairs programme ‘Keetute’. Confirming the roadshow he was also categorical about the need to consult communities as currently working groups are mapping out a “reconstruction” plan to eventually give the German government feedback. It is not only mindboggling but confusing as to how the very same people who have been engaged with the German government as part of the ongoing negotiations on genocide and reparation between the Namibian and German governments, could not be consulting the victims they may have been representing at these negotiations while the status of these negotiations is uncertain at this stage in view of the fact that they have not been concluded. The essence and meaning of these consultations are that the Namibian government, purportedly on behalf of the victims, has submitted its position on genocide and reparation which very much remain a subject of the ongoing negotiations. That unless if the reconciliation project is anything to go by, Germany, as far as she is concerned, this deal is about the reconciliation projects proposals. Can thus one not conclude from this that reparations, for the German government, are not on the agenda? Many a time Germany has been on record that genocide and reparations are not on the agenda but “atrocities” and reconciliation fund or development assistance to help alleviate poverty. The constitutional prerogatives of the President Joshua Razikua Kaumbi The President has the constitutional prerogative to appoint and relieve any person by and through the same process. This means that if person A was appointed on recommendation of the judicial or security commission, the President is expected to consult the structures in question before removing the said person. On the other hand, when he appoints or relieves members of his Cabinet, he can do it on his own. The only restriction is that such members should come from Parliament, both elected and appointed by the President by virtue of their expertise and skills. The members of the executive branch are both accountable individually for the administration of their own ministries and collectively for the administration of the work of the Cabinet, both to the President and to Parliament. As a departure point, the just ended Swapo Party Congress will have little impact on the composition of the current Cabinet whose term shall end in 2020. Thus, the ranking in the Central Committee or the Politburo of the Swapo Party at the moment is like a Grade 11 paper in the hands of a job seeker. The paper s/he will produce is Grade 10. The situation can only change if the President decides to discard the members appointed by him previously and he elects to appoint new ones. This is a situation that is unlikely, given the fact that the term is nearly at the end. Secondly, the President’s choice can expand, if some members for some or other reason vacate their parliamentary seats and by doing so create space for the next person, i.e. the resignation of Hon. Muheua can result in Paula Kooper entering Parliament as a voting member and thus creating space on the President’s ticket. On the other hand the Constitution of the Republic states that the political party which nominated such member to sit in the National Assembly vacancy by nominating any person on the party’s election list compiled for the previous general election, or if there be no such Joshua Razikua Kaumbi person, by nominating any member of the party should a vacancy occur. Thus, being next does not qualify one, though precedent will carry the day. The Cabinet Handbook and/or manual expects members of the executive branch to act in unison or collectively. This means that even if one minister does not agree with the majority of the Cabinet members s/he is expected to defend the decision of the majority, or if guided by his inner voice, resign. Thus, the decision of the majority in Cabinet eventually binds the lone dissenting voice. Having had ministers deviating and making a mockery of the attempts of his administration, the President, who is sensitive to public opinion, was left with no option but to read the Cabinet Handbook to his ministers again. It is imperative to note that it is President Hage Geingob’s administration, his legacy. In terms of the Constitution he does not need to provide reasons, and thus, he should be commended for justifying some of his actions hitherto. Given the leakage of only negative news about the government of late, both on local and international media, the President was eventually compelled to crack the whip in order for the centre to hold. The President should be commended that he allowed the two senior members to have a peaceful festive season, indicative of the fact that it was not an easy task for him personally but taken more in the interest of the country and most importantly setting the tone going forward. Whether we agree or not, the President had to act, in order to get the attention of his Cabinet. The message is thus clear that if you deliberately make a mockery of the President’s efforts and draw unnecessary negative attention on to his administration, you will greater good, whether best foot soldier or not. The movement of Peya Mushelenga to Urban should not be seen as a the current deputy, but more locating a person who will have a better understanding of the traditional authorities, given the all “native” ones. Moving up Simataa, the President is acknowledging that the said ministry since the advent of the Geingob era has conspicuously been absent. I opine that this is not the end of the re-alignment, and should not be. Appointing Nangolo Mbumba means there is once again a vacancy on the party list, as the vice-president vacates Parliament upon appointment. Whatever our understanding, this appointment will silence the criticism that the President is self-engaged. There is the position of Central Intelligence which appears to have multiple reporting points, and not good at all. The President might also bring about changes in the diplomatic mission, and some few elders, loyal, but having been around, can be sent on retirement, i.e. Asser Kapere, et al. We can only attempt to the President, but eventually it all boils down to him as the head of the administration. The point is the actions of the President so far are encouraging. Well done Mr President, so far so good. Joshua Razikua Kaumbi is a holder of a BA Political Science (Unam), LLB (Stellenbosch) and is a practising admitted attorney, currently on legal sabbatical. His opinions are expressed in his capacity.
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