18 Aug 2013 12:00
OKAHANDJA, 18 AUG (NAMPA) OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako called for unity, economic development and social justice during the Red Flag Day commemoration on Sunday.
Thousands of people took part in the gathering, which was held at the Commando Hall in Okahandja.
Earlier on Sunday morning, the Chief and his followers paid respect to OvaHerero chiefs which were laid to rest at the town.
Riruako urged Namibians to share a common goal of peace, despite their political affiliation or the ethnic group they originate from.
The event here is for unification. I believe in one country, and we must unite, despite our political parties, he stressed.
Riruako is also the president of the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo).
He did not mince his words when he urged Government not to afford anyone the opportunity to divide the people of Namibia. He accused several people of trying to divide Namibia before calling for a united nation, saying division amongst people can lead to wars.
At the same occasion, Okahandja Constituency Councillor Steve Biko Boois echoed similar sentiments, calling for unity amongst the OvaHerero people and for the elders to solve issues at the town.
Okahandja is a battle ground, and all the warriors are resting here like Samuel Maharero, Hosea Kutako, and Clemence Kapuuo. What else can stop us from sitting together around the fire? he said.
According to Boois, the economic development of the country should be on the forefront of national deliberations and discussions.
He advised elders to create a platform for younger people to sit, listen and learn and to take the country further for the benefit of all Namibians.
Last year, the Red Flag Day commemoration was delayed for a week by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) due to security reasons.
The decision to call off the annual event followed a meeting by the police with the two rival Herero groups which were set to attend the commemoration, to discuss security measures that would have had to be put in place to avoid possible clashes.
The main disagreement between the two groups was the location of the holy fire at the Red Flag Commando Grounds in Okahandja, which a faction of the Herero community under the instruction of Paramount Chief Riruako allegedly relocated to a place where it now faces the sunset.
The Maharero Royal House, supported by members of the Technical Committee of the OvaHerero/OvaMbanderu Council on the 1904 Genocide (OCD-1904), insists that the holy fire should face the sunrise (east), as it has done for the past 88 years.
Red Flag Day is commemorated annually at Okahandja on 26 August. The event sees the OvaHerero people gather to commemorate their deceased chiefs.
The day is significant for the OvaHerero as on that day, OvaHerero Chief Samuel Maharero's body was reburied alongside his ancestors at Okahandja in 1923.