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Namibia’s chief negotiator in compensation deal with Germany dies


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Zedekia `Zev’ Ngavirue, the Namibian government’s top negotiator on a proposed deal concerning Germany’s atonement for colonial-era genocide, has died at the aged of 88 in capital Windhoek.

The presidency confirmed the death of Ngavirue on Thursday, after he was taken to hospital just a few days prior.

It comes a week after a prominent figure opposed to the terms of the agreement with Germany died.

The leader of the Herero community, Chief Vekuii Rukoro, died following a COVID-19 diagnosis at the age of 66.

Namibia’s parliament has currently suspended the debate about the deal because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the deal, which was announced in May after six years of talks, the German government recognises the atrocities committed against the Herero and Nama ethnic groups as genocide more than 100 years ago.

This was after the crimes committed by the German colonial power in what is now Namibia.

Germany wants to officially ask the descendants for forgiveness and support them with a total of 1.1 billion euros (1.3 billion dollars) over several decades.

The negotiations were conducted by representatives of the two governments, with the Herero and Nama closely involved.

However, since the deal was announced, there has been harsh criticism of its terms from some representatives of the ethnic groups, derailing its implementation.

The amount of support payments was called `insulting’ by the Council of Chiefs, which is recognised by the Namibian government and represents the Herero and Nama groups.

The German government had repeatedly stressed that in its view there was no legal right to compensation.

The 1.1 billion euros was to be understood as a political and moral obligation.

The German Reich was the colonial power in what was then German South-West Africa from 1884 to 1915 and brutally put down uprisings.

During the Herero and Nama War from 1904 to 1908, there was a mass murder that is considered the first genocide of the 20th century.

Historians estimate that 65,000 out of 80,000 Herero and at least 10,000 out of 20,000 Nama were killed.