Baherero mull lawsuit against German government
by Tshiamo Tabane
The Baherero tribe in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa is considering legal action against the German government for its refusal to pay financial compensation for the 1904 massacre.
A member of the committee, which coordinates the initiative in Botswana, Umuna Korujezu, said that while the government agreed to help the tribe to recover from the effects of the war, it still refuses to offer financial compensation. “The talks could end up in court. We are likely to sue for compensation,” he said.
Baherero have established committees in Botswana and South Africa to link tribal members to the Namibian committee which advances the initiative through the Namibian government.
Korujezu, who is a member of the committee based in Botswana, has indicated that the German government has only agreed to build schools where Baherero can be taught their culture. He said as the German Boers attacked and dispersed Baherero tribal members to foreign countries, majority of the tribe lost its properties, identity and culture.
“We believe it is the responsibility of the German government to compensate us for the brutality caused by the German Boers. The government should come up with initiatives to bring us back to our culture. We came here with nothing and adopted local culture,” said Korujezu.
Korujezu added that compensation in the form of schools is not enough and the government should also give financial compensation. He said the war denied majority of Baherero an opportunity to enjoy different financial assistance and sponsorships from their government in Namibia.
“After the Israel massacre, the German government is on annual basis allocating part of its budget to the Nazis as part of the compensation for the brutality caused by the Germans. The similar exercise should be extended to us,” he said.
He said the German government should pay Baherero for the lost opportunity to use Namibian sponsorships, and funding should be disbursed through Botswana, South Africa and Namibian governments.
Government Spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay, said Botswana government supports the initiative to have German government paying for the brutality that Baherero suffered as a result of the Boer attacks.
He said they are aware that the German government is refusing to offer financial compensation.
Ramsay said he cannot speculate on why the government refuses to offer the financial compensation.
The historian said the genocide was committed by the German troops between 1904 and 1907 and more than 70 thousand Herero died from the brutal attacks. He indicated that during the attacks Herero women and girls were raped and their cattle and land was confiscated.
The German embassy spokesperson could not be reached for comment during press time.