OKAHANDJA: Red Flag Day commemoration activities under a faction led OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako are moving at a slow pace here.
Only a handful of people have so far descended upon Okahandja for the event that kicked off at the town on Friday.
When Nampa arrived at the Red Flag Commando Grounds in Okahandja’s !Nau-Aib location on Saturday at about 11h00, a very small group of OvaHerero traditional battle troops was already in the area, preparing themselves for the 89th annual Red Flag Day commemoration.
The majority of Red Flag troops currently present in Okahandja on Saturday are mainly those that belong to the OvaHerero faction led by Chief Riruako.
Meanwhile, a number of people Nampa spoke to on Saturday morning, whose identities cannot be named for professional reasons, are optimistic that the event will be a success, saying more people will arrive at Okahandja in the afternoon and evening hours of Saturday.
This commemoration event under the faction led by Riruako will also see a number of statements and speeches delivered by community leaders and OvaHerero chiefs who mainly support Riruako.
The main disagreement is between a faction led by Chief Riruako and a faction under the leadership of the Maharero Royal House who in turn are supported by members of the Technical Committee of the OvaHerero/OvaMbanderu Council on the 1904 Genocide (OCD-1904)).
It is centered on the heated dispute or issue with regard to the location of the ‘holy fire’ at the Red Flag Commando Grounds in Okahandja.
The dispute started last year when a faction or group of people acting under the instruction of Paramount Chief Riruako allegedly relocated the ‘holy fire’ to a place where it now faces the sunset (west).
Meanwhile, the Maharero Royal House, supported by members of OCD-1904, insists that the ‘holy fire’ should face the sunrise (east).
The Red Flag Day commemoration, which started Friday evening, is commemorated annually since the death of Herero Chief Samuel Maharero in 1923.
The event is usually and yearly attended mainly by members of the Herero community but it also attracts tourists, historians and journalists from all over the world.
The annual commemoration features parades by traditional battle troops, horse-riding contests, music shows, football matches and a beauty pageant.
On Sunday, hundreds of men, women and children clad in traditional gear, and led by Riruako and supporters, will hold red, green and white flags (their adopted battle colours) aloft as they march in parades to the ancient gravesite where they would honour the memories of late Chiefs Tjamuaha, Samuel Maharero, Friedrich Maharero, Nicodemus Kavikunua, Hosea Kutako, Clemens Kapuuo and David Ndisiro.
They will also pay respects to the late Kaptein Jan Jonker Afrikaner of the Namas, and Chiefs Rijarua Ruhumba, Kahimemua Nguvauva, Kavezeri Tjamuaha, Willem Maharero, Trougoth Maharero and Kangava Muhengu.
German families, who lost relatives in the 1904 to 1908 war between the OvaHerero and German colonial forces, are also expected to participate in the commemoration ceremony.
The event ends Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the group, led by the Maherero Royal House and supporters, is expected to hold a separate event at Okahandja at a later stage.
Members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) were visible at the Red Flag Commando Grounds on Saturday to provide and ensure maximum peace and tranquility before, during and after the commemorations by the group led by Riruako.