Government never refused traditional leader recognition

05 Jan 2016 15:00pm
OMUHAMA, 05 JAN (NAMPA) – The issue of the recognition of traditional leaders by the Namibian government took centre stage at the funeral of chief Bernhard Vemuuru Turitjo at Omuhama on Sunday.
Delivering his address at the funeral, Chief of the OvaHerero Traditional Authority (OTA), Vekuii Rukoro said the Namibian government is refusing the recognition of some traditional leaders under the OTA.
“Let us not fool each other here. If Turitjo was such a good leader as many are saying, why did he die without recognition by the Namibian government?” Rukoro wanted to know.
The Secretary of the Swapo-Party Elders’ Council in the Ruacana Constituency, Gustav Tjimuhiva shot back at Rukoro, saying no recognition of traditional leaders was ever blocked or refused by Government.
“It is those of you who are recognised who refuse your colleagues to be recognised, not the government,” he stated.
Tjimuhiva also reminded Rukoro that most of the applications for recognition submitted at the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development are those of the OvaHerero, more than that of other tribal groups.
The Governor of the Kunene Region, Angelika Muharukua joined the debate saying: “If Government was against the recognition of traditional leaders, it would never have given the late chief of the OTA, Kuaima Riruako, a state funeral; something the OTA never wanted to allow”.
She also reminded the mourners on how the OTA opposed the demarcation of land in hectares in rural Namibia.
Muharukua warned against leaders who divide people, especially in the Kunene Region, saying: “I will never allow the people of Kunene to be divided”.
The governor said she will continue involving all leaders from all sectors in the region including youth organisations, religious groups, political and traditional leaders - whether recognised or not.
She also said trans-regional cooperation with neighbouring regions will continue.
Turitjo died on 21 December at the age of 74.
He was a leader under the OTA who worked closely with the late Riruako and was part of the delegation that went to Germany to collect the human skulls of the OvaHerero and Nama who were killed by the Germans during the 1904-1908 genocide in Namibia.
He is described by many as a unifier and a man of principle whose name features in most developments that took place in both the Kunene and Omusati regions.