Namibian chiefs have rejected Germany’s proposal to pay the country $1.3 billion for killing tens of thousands of Namibians during its colonial rule genocide.
The Council of Chiefs, who represent the Herero and Nama people, have renounced an offer to finance infrastructure projects in Namibia to apologize for the mass slaughter.
On Monday, the Council of Chiefs called the amount “insulting,” “unacceptable,” and “an affront to our existence.” They are demanding the Namibian government renegotiate the deal.
Tens of thousands of Namibians, including children, were shot or tortured by German troops between 1904 and 1908 after the Herero and Nama tribes revolted against colonial rule. Some Namibians were even driven into the Kalahari desert and left to starve. Germans seized land and livestock while killing at least 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama. It is estimated that at least 75% of the Herero and half of the Nama people were killed.
Last week, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas addressed the deal during a statement at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.
“We will now officially refer to these events as what they are from today’s perspective, genocide. In light of the historical and moral responsibility of Germany, we will ask forgiveness from Namibia and the victims’ descendants for the atrocities committed,” he said.
Maas added that the payment did not open the way to any “legal request for compensation.”
Namibian President Hage Geingob’s spokesman Alfredo Hengari told AFP the official acknowledgment of the genocide was “the first step in the right direction. It is the basis for the second step, which is an apology, to be followed by reparations.”