Ovaherero, Ovambanderu Denounce Disunity

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By Kae Matundu- Tjiparuro TSAU, Botswana The Ovaherero and Ovambanderu must ensure that any form of compensation or reparation is genuine and is not intended to pit them against one another. The chief of Tsau, Ebineng Potsoeng, gave this friendly advice over the weekend here during the annual Red Flag pilgrimage to pay homage to fallen heroes and heroines in the wars of resistance against German colonialism. These wars saw remnants of the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu taking refuge braving the harshness of sandy Omaheke and merciless scorching Kalahari desert eventually finding their first asylum here. Potsoeng brought a special message to the Chief of the Batawana who welcomed the first Ovaherero war refugees here, among them then Ovaherero Chief Samuel Maharero and a small group of followers that survived the wars. He drew the attention of the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu to the analogy of the third dog running away with a bone while two are fighting over it. He added that the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu needed to think about the dogs-bone lesson. Although they did not experience the onslaught, descendants of the victims of German wars need to remember the genocide against their ancestors, and their loss of property because Samuel Maharero was a lamb that was sacrificed for them. In this regard it would be appropriate to erect monuments to the memories of those who perished in the wars of resistance to thank them for their sacrifices. Ovaherero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako, in a speech read on his behalf, echoed similar sentiments against disunity. “What is more painful today is the fact that the Ovaherero are disgracefully divided, disunited and are being poached by many anti-Ovaherero enemies from among the Ovaherero themselves,” said Riruako’s aide, Jonathan Katjimune, who read the chief’s speech. “The problems of the Ovaherero will never be solved by those chiefs who are recognised by the Government and nor will it be solved by those who are not recognised either. We both need each other for that purpose, and I think that we are mature enough to have realised that. Are we not?” In this regard Riruako invited his fellow traditional leaders wherever, Ovaherero and Ovambanderu, to this year find a date when they come together to issue a red card against disunity. He said the quest for reparation would only succeed if everybody throws in her/his weight behind the effort. “Divided we shall lose, whereas united we shall win,” he said. Riruako invited his fellow Ovaherero and Ovambandeu leaders on a march with him to internationalise the genocide and reparation campaign aiming to take the matter to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the European Human Rights Commission and even the Human Rights Court announced recently during the African Summit in the Gambia. Cleophas Mutjavikua made some brief intervention on behalf of Chief Kaihepovazandu Maharero, in an apparent reference to Riruako’s speech as well as the introduction of an interim committee in Botswana to campaign and update the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu here on the reparation campaign. He said it was important to remember that there were Ovaherero leaders who are recognised under existing laws of both countries. He further referred to “Committee of Chiefs” as opposed to a “Committee of One Chief” in an apparent reference to the two committees currently claiming legitimacy to the reparations issue in Namibia. He pointed out that among the chiefs on the committee popularly known as the “Opuwo Committee” are chiefs Kahaka and Kaumo Maharero, both from Botswana. The latter committee was established in Opuwo last year hence the reference to it as the Opuwo Committee. Despite their separateness, Mutjavikua said the two committees have been consulting each other. He further cautioned that disunity among the Ovaherero in Namibia to remain a “Namibian thing” lest it poisons other Ovaherero in the Diaspora. He further opined that disunity among the Ovaherero is not a matter for resolution in conference halls and through the issuance of “red cards”, an obvious reference to Riruako’s speech. On the contrary it is a sensitive matter demanding and deserving of the wisdom of elders in the traditional community. Mutjavikua also raised the issue of the guardianship or patronage of the Red Flag. He pointed out that the White Flag is under the patronage of the Royal House of Zeraeua under Chief Christian Zeraeua and the Green Flag under Chief Munjuku Nguvauva II. Thus the natural patron of the Red Flag is none other than Chief Maharero. The initials M.P.S.M. standing for Mukuru Panaete Samuel Maharero (God with us Samuel Maharero) testifies to the natural home of the Red Flag, which is the Maharero Royal House. Meanwhile, Ovaherero in Botswana awakened to the disunity among their Namibian fellows have expressed strong sentiments against this division poisoning them and hitherto any bid for cooperation shall be scrutinised. The move is motivated by especially the Namibian genocide committees that have separately been courting their kinspeople in Botswana. It seems the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu in Botswana have been under the wrong impression as to the representative nature of the two genocide committees. Hence the consensus among them that they would revisit the matter to establish the bona fides of the two committees. Ovaherero from within Botswana as well as from Namibia attended the event and witnessed on Sunday morning the unveiling of a kudu statue, the totem of the Tjamuaha Royal House. Chief Maharero himself led a delegation from Namibia, which included traditional councillor Ngauva Kazongominja. Lieutenant-General Uueziua Tjivikua led the red flag regiment from Namibia.