Maherero Royal Authority angered by Commando Hall demolition

03 Aug 2016 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 03 AUG (NAMPA) – The leadership of the Maharero Royal Traditional Authority has expressed shock and dismay over the demolition of the Commando structure at Okahandja in the Otjozondjupa Region.
It was reported widely earlier this week that the corrugated iron structure (hall) at Commando Number 1 in Okahandja was demolished Saturday night, allegedly by members of the OvaHerero Traditional Authority (OTA) under Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro.
The commando grounds in Okahandja, and the structure which was built on it, are said to belong to the OvaHerero Red Flag Regiment, which accommodates all members of the tribal group.
A member of the OTA, Abraham Kahikopo was quoted this week saying “they” were given orders by [Paramount Chief] Rukoro to bring down the structure on Erf 1756.
Kahikopo reportedly said the job was done on Saturday night and completed by Sunday morning.
This move by the chief has bitterly angered some members of the Herero community, especially the Maharero Royal House who labelled it as a “malicious and illegal act of vandalism”.
They (Maharero Royal Traditional Authority) issued a statement on Wednesday, saying Rukoro had no authority to dismantle the sacred structure.
“The Red Flag Regiment and the Maharero Royal Traditional Authority have learned with great dismay and shock of the malicious demolition to the cultural shrine of OvaHerero people… This deplorable act of savagery was perpetuated following the purported transaction between the Okahandja Municipality and the OTA for the sale of this historical piece of land.”
The traditional authority explained that the historical significance of the site can be traced back to the reburial of Chief Samuel Maharero’s remains in Okahandja on 26 August 1923, and the site has been the solemn gathering point of Hereros during their annual August pilgrimage to the garden town when they pay homage to their departed chiefs and heroes.
“Therefore, the labelling of this [demolished] building as a kambashu and/or okandingosho (shack) by those who engineered the demolition and act of vandalism, is a clear insult to the souls of these departed chiefs, heroes and royals,” the statement reads.
The Maharero Royal Traditional Authority and a section of the Red Flag Regiment have further warned that these “illegal” developments could have far-reaching negative implications that will derail the annual traditional pilgrimage of Ovaherero people to Okahandja and usher the Herero people into a new wave of conflict and tension.
They said the ideal situation going forward should include the preservation of the three erven (1754, 1755 and 1756) as one piece of historical land, which will be accorded the necessary recognition as a national heritage site in order to preserve it for use by all OvaHerero people through the Ovaherero Red Flag Regiment.
The Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol), Sebastian Ndeitunga is said to have assigned a full police commissioner to attend to the investigation regarding this demolition saga.