Now Tanzania seeks reparations from Germany
Publish date: 13 February 2017
Issue Number: 714
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Tanzania's Government is considering legal action to force former coloniser Germany to pay reparations for alleged atrocities committed more than a century ago. At the same time, Legalbrief reports that a court date has been set in a federal lawsuit lodged in a US court against the German Government for reparations. Germany last month admitted to transgressions in Namibia over the deaths of 65 000 people in what is viewed by many as the first genocide of the 20th century. Tanzania’s Defence Minister Hussein Mwiny last week told lawmakers that the government will seek compensation over the tens of thousands of people who were allegedly starved, tortured and killed by German forces trying to contain rebellious tribes. A report on the News24 site notes that Mwinyi said he would officially write to Tanzania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs ‘so that they can take the matter to the German government’. ‘Compensation is what we are looking for, and there are a few other examples in the African region of countries who have asked for this compensation. So we are hoping to take this forward to the German government ourselves,’ Mwinyi said, according to the report. It says if Tanzania's Government presses for reparations, the East African country would be following the recent example of neighbouring Kenya, where a group of elderly Kenyans won compensation from the British Government for acts of torture blamed on British colonial officials. In 2013, the British Government said it ‘sincerely regrets’ the acts of torture carried out against Kenyans fighting for liberation from colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s. It also paid about $21.5m to the 5 200 Kenyans who were found to have been tortured. A report on the IBTimes site notes that Germany ruled Tanzania, then known as Tanganyika, between 1890 and 1919, after which date Britain took control of the East African nation.