WINDHOEK: The leadership of the Maharero Royal House has vowed to commemorate Red Flag Day at the Commando Grounds in Okahandja, despite the pending dispute on the location of the holy fire.
“This year, OvaHerero Heroes’ Day will be commemorated in a despicable manner due to the forceful removal of our holy fire,” said Senior Councillor Gustav Mupurua of the Maharero Traditional Authority, in an interview with Nampa here on Monday.
The annual commemoration of Red Flag or OvaHerero Heroes’ Day is planned to take place at Okahandja from 24-25 August 2012, but the pending dispute about the location of the holy fire at the site is causing tension and animosity among the traditional leaders, who are now pulling in different directions.
In 2011, a faction of the Herero community under the instruction of Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako, relocated the holy fire to a place where it now faces the sunset.
The holy fire had faced the sunrise (east) for the past 88 years.
“The collective leadership of OvaMbanderu and OvaHerero will gather at the Commando Grounds to pay their respects to the heroes and heroines of the community. We will converge at the Commando site to commemorate our heroes. The site is a non-political venue, which means that it is for all OvaHerero and not for a selected few individuals,” Mupurua told Nampa in an interview on Monday.
“The holy fire was removed because of political reasons,” he charged, without elaborating further.
The question about whether the new placing of the holy fire at the commemoration venue is the correct location in terms of conformity with cultural norms appears to have been left to preference and interpretation, as both factions claim their location legitimate.
Mupurua said the collective leadership of the Ovaherero/Ovambanderu community will do everything in their powers to restore the rule of law in their area of jurisdiction (Okahandja), on the day of the commemoration.
The collective leadership has tasked the Technical Committee of the OvaHerero/OvaMbanderu Council on the 1904 Genocide (OCD-1904) to work out a programme for the activities in Okahandja.
The committee is also expected to provide the necessary logistics to realise the objectives of the collective leadership of OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu communities.
The collective leadership is made up of the Kambazembi, Maharero, Zaraeua, Vita, Otjikaoko, Mureti and Tjambiru royal houses as well as the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority.
It also includes the Hoveka Royal House, Chief Jooste Vihanga, Chief Tjikuirire Jamuine of Otjinene, Chief Katutura Tjiramba of Otjombinde and Chief Jonathan Tjijorokisa of Aminius.
Meanwhile, the OvaHerero Traditional Authority Advisor, Dr Hoze Riruako told this news agency that Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako’s people had their programme developed a long time ago, and all invited guests have already been informed.
‘As far as I know, there is only one programme under one traditional authority which will lead us during the three-day event in Okahandja,’ Riruako said.
He said he expects the commemoration to be held in a peaceful manner, because members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) will make sure that law and order will be adhered to.
‘The commemoration will go on as usual without any hindrance,’ he stated.