Police quell violence at Red Flag Day commemoration

26 Aug 2017 19:10pm
WINDHOEK, 26 AUG (NAMPA) – Police had to intervene when supporters of the OtjikaTjamuaha Royal House and Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) became violent at the disputed site of the Red Flag Day commemoration in Okahandja on Saturday.
The commemoration failed to transpire as tensions ran high at the site in Nau-Aib, Okahandja and police instead invited the two factions to a closed door meeting to find a solution to the problem.
Deputy Commissioner, Gerhard Mavenjono of the Namibian Police Force, asked that each of the factions send five representatives to meet with the police.
Only representatives of the OtjikaTjamuaha Royal House were in attendance when Nampa visited the Okahandja Police Station late Saturday afternoon, represented by Professor Phanuel Kaapama and Katuutire Kaura, among others.
The two factions are in disagreement over 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.
Supporters of the OtjikaTjamuaha faction reacted furiously when supporters of the OTA decided to parade their horses on their plot.
Someone hit one of the horses with a knobkierie and women threw rocks at the riders, resulting in one of the riders being thrown off his horse.
Things came to a head when an OTA supporter pulled out a gun, cocked it and threatened the crowds.
In another physical altercation a supporter of one of the two factions could be seen pushing someone from the other faction.
Tjinaani Maharero earlier this week said plot No. 1755 holds a 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.
Red Flag Day, also known as Otjiserandu Day, marks the remembrance of the life of Samuel Maharero and the 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.