27 Aug 2017 20:20pm
OKAHANDJA, 27 AUG (NAMPA) Chief of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA), Vekuii Rukoro has accused the Namibian Police of being politically motivated in its operations after police restricted access to historic Herero graves in Okahandja this weekend.
Speaking at the Red Flag Day commemoration here on Sunday, he said Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Inspector-General, Sebastian Ndeitunga was not fair in the way he handled the disagreement between supporters of the OTA under Rukoros leadership and OtjikaTjamuaha Royal House under the leadership of Chief Tjinaani Maharero.
The police had to intervene when supporters of the two factions became confrontational at the disputed site of the Red Flag Day commemoration in Okahandja on Saturday.
They were 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.
NamPol Deputy Commissioner, Gerhard Mavenjono asked that each of the factions send five representatives to meet with the police and a final decision was taken that no one be allowed to access the graves on Sunday an integral part of the Red Flag commemoration.
A visit to the graves of their ancestors holds sentimental value to the ovaHereros as they believe in paying homage to their fallen heroes.
According to Phanuel Kaapama of the OtjikaTjamuaha Royal House, they could not allow anyone to access the grave site in Heroes Street as the commemoration proceedings up to that point had not been carried out.
They include lighting the holy fire, which is a site of communication with the ancestors. The fire should be lit before any commemoration takes place.
When the two factions in 2014 went to court it was ordered that the OtjikaTjamuaha Royal House in collaboration with the Red Flag Regiment be in charge of the commemorations organisation, which includes the lighting of the holy fire by a member of the OtjikaTjamuaha clan as dictated by tradition.
Speaking on Sunday, Rukoro said the late Samuel Maharero was the leader of the entire Ovaherero and NamPol has no right to deny them their constitutional right.
The Namibian Police is one directional, not objective and is politically motivated, he said.
Speaking to Nampa on Sunday, Ndeitunga confirmed having ordered the police in Okahandja to restrict access to the graveyard.
If an action by the public or any group seems to provoke danger or seems to challenge security, the police have no option but to prevent that from happening, he said.
Ndeitunga also said Rukoro had accused him of being political motivated and biased in his handling of conflict between the two Herero factions.
I am used to accusations, but where I see there is danger I need to intervene, he said.
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.