Quit Politics, Riruako Told

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Okakarara Members of the Ovaherero community have made a strong request for their Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako to relinquish his parliamentary seat and quit politics for the Ovaherero community to be reunited. This call was made at the “All Ovaherero Conference” which ended yesterday at Okakarara. At the meeting, which was attended by over 3 000 Ovaherero, dozens of community members and traditional leaders claimed that Riruako’s involvement in politics is the main factor that has led to disunity and infightings within the community. The community members claimed that the Paramount Chief sidelines other chiefs and only cooperates with those who belong to the Nudo Party. The concerned members added that this trend has led to chiefs that belong to other political parties being replaced by chiefs that belong to Nudo. Despite the proposal being strongly opposed by other community members, the concerned members stated that the Ovaherero should also establish a fund that will be used to pay the chief. The meeting was generally split over the proposal and thus it was not made a resolution. However, the meeting took a resolution that Riruako should once again approach the chiefs of the five Royal Houses to try and iron out their differences. Some speakers at the meeting claimed that these chiefs have generally claimed that Riruako does not show any respect for them and hardly consults them on issues that concern the community, such as the genocide case. Using a phrase from the bible, most of the speakers said a good shepherd is the one that leaves 99 sheep in the kraal to go look for the one that is lost. This was a clear reference to a minority of the Ovaherero especially those aligned to the DTA, who decided to boycott the meeting. However, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro who presented a statement on “The advantages of Unity of Purpose with regard to the issue of the Ovaherero Genocide”, warned that Riruako should not waste his time in trying to find “lost sheep” but focus on other urgent issues such as the genocide case. The former deputy minister of Justice stated that the unity the Ovaherero are seeking should be of purpose and action. “I have realised through the years that the Ovaherero will simply not unite for the sake of unity but could unite if it is to achieve a certain goal.” He added that the genocide case gives the Ovaherero a golden opportunity to unite for a common goal. Rukoro also used the opportunity to dismiss accusations that he played a significant role in the current disunity of the Ovaherero. Some community members publicly accused him of causing disunity among the Ovaherero when he used his influence as a deputy minister to have the five chiefs of the royal houses recognised by the Namibian government while Riruako was not recognised. Rukoro strongly denied this and said he invited Riruako to the meeting but Riruako would not come and thus missed the opportunity to be recognised. He instead claimed that he has on numerous times tried to unite the Ovaherero. “Just shortly before Namibia’s Independence I consulted with Riruako and persuaded him to pull Nudo out of the DTA in order to merge with Swanu so that the Ovaherero could be well represent in the Constituent Assembly, which was going to discuss the land issue.” He said Riruako agreed but changed his thoughts at the eleventh hour and this led to the Ovaherero being poorly represented in the Constituent Assembly. Former Speaker of the National Assembly MosÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© Tjitendero said he was impressed with the turnout of the people. “The huge turnout is clear indication that the community is tired of the disunity and want to come together.” He added that the community is also sending a strong message that the leadership should shake up and get themselves in order. Tjitendero, who was one of the directors of ceremony, also noted that the meeting was a good beginning and the process of unity has been set in motion. “Disunity should not be tolerated whether it is in an ethnic group or political party.” He added that disunity is infectious and the disunity in the Herero community could set the trend for other communities to have infightings.