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Namibia. An informal lunch with the German ambassador caused a diplomatic crisis for the entire European Union

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The party in power in Namibia wants to expel all diplomats from European Union countries and the entire EU diplomatic mission from the country. This happened after ambassadors from Germany, Finland, France, Spain and Portugal met with the leader of the opposition party and its candidate for head of state.

Namibia's ruling SWAPO party called for the expulsion of diplomats from Germany, Finland, France, Spain, Portugal and representatives of the European Union mission. She accused them of imperialism and interfering in the upcoming presidential elections, after diplomats last week met the leader of the opposition party and its candidate for head of state, Panduleni Itula.

The meeting took place at the residence of German ambassador Thorsten Hutter in the country's capital, Windhoek. Namibian Vice President Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said it was part of a plot by “enemies of democracy” to weaken former liberation movements in southern Africa and install parties that were friendly to them.

Nandi-Ndaitwah further criticized the German embassy for suggesting that Itula is widely believed to be the next president of Namibia. “What a diplomatic statement, especially from a country with which we still have a serious dispute,” she said, quoted by The Namibian daily.

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Disputes over reparations with Germany

The newspaper recalled that relations between Namibia and Germany are difficult due to the unresolved issue of reparations for the genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples, which claimed tens of thousands of victims in 1904-1907.

Genocide occurred when Imperial German forces responded to an indigenous uprising in 1904 by placing several thousand people in concentration camps and driving others into the desert, where many died of starvation or dehydration.

On Wednesday, Namibian Minister of International Relations Pey Mushelenga summoned envoys of the EU delegation and the German embassy for talks and warned them to respect Namibia's sovereignty, even though it is a small country.

Martins: We did not prejudge the outcome of any elections

Ana-Beatriz Martins, head of the EU mission in Namibia, confirmed that an “informal lunch with Itula was organized to discuss the situation in Namibia, including his election campaign.”

“This is part of our overall engagement with relevant entities in Namibia, which is normal for all diplomatic missions,” Martins wrote on social media.

However, she denied that the ambassadors were discussing matters that fall under the remit of the Namibian government. – We neither commented nor prejudged the outcome of any elections – she emphasized.

Presidential elections in Namibia

In November, Namibia will elect a new president, members of the National Assembly and local councilors.

President Hage Geingob died in February and the country is ruled by Vice President Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is SWAPO's candidate for head of state in the November elections. If elected, she will be the first woman to hold this position in Namibia's history.

Although the elections are still over half a year away, there have already been many incidents of violence involving supporters of rival political parties.

Main photo source: Reuters Archive

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