Red Flag Day commemoration not well attended

24 Aug 2014 15:00pm
OKAHANDJA, 24 AUG (NAMPA) – Just a handful of people were in attendance at the Red Flag Day commemoration at Okahandja on Saturday, a huge contrast to the thousands of OvaHerero who normally show up for the event.
Red Flag Day is observed annually to commemorate the fallen heroes and heroines of the OvaHerero.
Speaking to the media on the first day of the event here on Saturday, Phanuel Kapama of the Maharero Royal House explained to members of the media that there has been a lot of confusion regarding the commemoration, with “some groups” deciding to boycott the event.
“We are not bothered, those who will come will show their commitment as they will come in good faith and spirit,” he said.
The Maharero Royal House on Friday lodged a case with the High Court through which it obtained a court order to gain access to the commando premises, and to the usage of water and electricity at the premises at Okahandja. This is after the OvaHerero Traditional Authority (OTA) refused the Maharero Royal House access to the commando for the holding of the Red Flag Day event.
They held a meeting with the Namibian Police Force (NamPol’s) Otjozondjupa regional police commander, Joseph Anghuwo at Okahandja on Thursday, when the commander read out an agreement signed by both parties during their previous court case in June this year.
As per the settlement, the much-respected OvaHerero 'holy fire' at the commando structure at Okahandja would be restored to its original position on the eastern side of the commando building situated on Erf 1756 at the town.
Despite the agreement being reached, there seems to be a long way to go before the Maharero Royal House Traditional Authority and the OvaHerero Traditional Authority see eye-to-eye.
The dispute over the location of the Holy Fire erupted after the OvaHerero Traditional Authority, led by the late Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako, chose to light the fire on the western side of the hall instead of the eastern side.
The Maharero Royal House argued that the correct location of the holy fire should be on the eastern side of the commando instead. It reasoned that this was the original location since the repatriation and reburial of the remains of Samuel Maharero in 1923 at Okahandja.
The settlement was supposed to put to rest the case in which the Maharero Royal House Traditional Authority wanted the Windhoek High Court to award it the sole right to light and maintain the fire at the commando hall at Okahandja.
Kapama said they signed the agreement in good faith.
“This is a major concern and we will discuss what steps to take after the event,” he said.