Riruako's fight for reparation should continue: Pohamba

03 Jun 2014 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 03 JUN (NAMPA) - President Hifikepunye Pohamba says late OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako’s efforts for reparations for victims of the 1904-1908 genocide should continue despite his passing on.
The Head of State made the statement on Tuesday when he paid his respects to the late Riruako at the Commando Hall in the Katutura residential area, where hundreds of mourners have gathered to pay tribute to the Chief.
He died at the Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek on Monday. He was 79 years old.
The late Riruako spent the last five weeks of his life in hospital, where he was admitted on 26 April to be treated for high blood pressure.
“Chief Riruako as a Member of Parliament (MP) played a significant role and that could be seen by everybody. His most important significant moment to me was when he moved a motion in Parliament talking about genocide and reparation,” Pohamba recalled.
He said he was happy that Parliament immediately adopted the motion and made it a resolution.
Up to 100 000 OvaHerero and 10 000 Nama people died during the genocide of 1904 to 1908, considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century.
Pohamba said it is due to Riruako’s efforts in Parliament that today, the government of Namibia is engaging German authorities on the matter.
“Yes, we have not yet as one government to another reached an understanding. However, I was thinking that an understanding could be reached while Chief Riruako is in life,” he added.
The Head of State said government, as well as present and future leaders should not stop demanding what Riruako fought for.
Pohamba went on to say just as much as the Namibian nation has lost a great leader, he too has lost a friend.
He spoke about a recent meeting with Riruako while he was in the process of consulting opposition leaders, stating that it was a moment he will cherish for a long time to come.
“Before we started that meeting, it was just jokes all the way, hugging and talking, friends meeting. It was a good moment,” Pohamba said.
Former politician and founder of the DTA of Namibia, Dirk Mudge who also attended the event with his son, Republican Party president Henk Mudge, said he remembers how they struggled together for peace in the country.
“Chief Riruako was never in favour of war, he wanted peace. One thing about the Chief that people do not know is that he had very good sense of humour,” Mudge said.
Pohamba was amongst others accompanied by First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba and Prime Minister Hage Geingob. Also present were Speaker of the National Assembly Theo-Ben Gurirab and his wife Joan Guriras, as well as Justice Minister Utoni Nujoma.