WINDHOEK: OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako on Thursday vowed to push ahead with this year’s Red Flag Commemoration despite the event being called off by police earlier in the day for security reasons.
Speaking during a meeting with German Member of Parliament (MP) Niema Movassat, who arrived in Namibia on Wednesday, he said a different venue will be found for the commemoration event which was set to start on Friday and end Sunday.
“You cannot change history. Not even Government can stop us from commemorating this day,” Riruako said.
The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) on Thursday issued an urgent order calling off the Red Flag Commemoration event which was set to take place at Okahandja, citing security reasons.
The decision to call off the annual event follows a meeting on Tuesday by the police with the two rival Herero groups that were set to attend the commemoration this weekend to discuss security measures that would have had to be put in place to avoid possible clashes.
The main disagreement between the two groups is the location of the holy fire at the Red Flag Commando Grounds in Okahandja, which a faction of the Herero community under the instruction of Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako allegedly relocated to a place where it now faces the sunset.
The Maharero Royal House, supported by members of the Technical Committee of the OvaHerero/OvaMbanderu Council on the 1904 Genocide (OCD-1904), insists that the holy fire should face the sunrise (east), as it has done for the 88 years.
Movassat on Thursday met with Riruako for talks on the 1904-1908 German genocide.
The German MP, who is a member of Germany’s Left Party, returns to Germany on 29 August 2012.
He is in Namibia to intensify inter-parliamentary dialogue, for political and civil society talks and for talks with committees of the descendants of victims of the 1904-1908 German genocide.
At today’s meeting held here, the German MP explained that the Left Party in March 2012 tabled a motion called ‘Acknowledging the German Colonial Crimes in Former German South-West Africa as Genocide and Working towards Restorative Justice’ in the German Parliament.
“A few months ago government parties and Christian democrats in the liberal parties denied this motion,” Movassat said.
He said even though the motion was denied, close to 200 civil societies in Germany wrote letters to that country’s parliament to accept the motion and in addition, apologise to and talk about reparations for Namibians affected by the genocide, which include the Herero people.
Movassat also stated that it is important that the Left Party acts in solidarity with what the Herero people want, adding that the party will support them in order to see to it that these discussions continue.
“If we want to get justice in the end, it is important that we work together,” the German MP said.