Red Flag Day commemoration in limbo

26 Aug 2017 15:50pm
OKAHANDJA, 26 AUG (NAMPA) – The Red Flag Day commemoration at Okahandja had not begun by 15H00 on Saturday because of tension between supporters of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) and OtjikaTjamuaha Royal House.
Representatives of the two factions had a closed-door meeting with police in efforts to defuse the tension, which stems from a difference of opinion about where the commemoration should take place – plot number 1755 belonging to the OTA or plot number 1756 leased to the Red Flag Regiment by the Okahandja Municipality.
The OTA supports its Chief Vekuii Rukoro, while the other faction backs Chief of the OtjikaTjamuaha Royal House, Tjinaani Maharero.
The OtjikaTjamuaha faction earlier this week said the commemoration will be held at plot No. 1755, which according to Maharero has sentimental value not only to the OtjikaTjamuaha clan, but to the entire Ovaherero community both nationally and internationally.
According to Maharero, a court order issued in 2014 states that the 'holy fire', which signifies hope and a site of communication with the ancestors, should be restored east of the corrugated iron structure at this plot.
He said the order had never been challenged, which makes it still valid.
This structure was, however, removed from this plot after the OTA bought the area and has now been re-constructed at Plot No. 1756, which is adjacent to 1755.
He told this agency that when the remains of Samuel Maharero were brought from Botswana for reburial in Okahandja, the funeral was conducted from this plot in the corrugated iron structure that was removed.
Speaking to Nampa on Saturday, DTA of Namibia president McHenry Venaani said it is far-fetched for a traditional leader to deny people their heritage, referring to Rukoro.
When this news agency consulted the factions for comment around midday, no one was willing to comment.
Red Flag Day, also known as Otjiserandu Day, marks the remembrance of the life of Samuel Maharero and the great struggle against German troops.
The day was introduced by the late Chief Hosea Katjikururume Kutako after the return of the remains of Samuel Maharero on 23 August 1923.