The government has issued a strongly worded statement against OvaHerero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro, who referred to the government as the “Ovambo government”. The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya, called a press conference on Friday where he strongly condemned the statement as having a tribalistic connotation. He cautioned against tribalism, which he said is rearing its ugly head in the country.
Rukoro made the tribalistic remark in a widely circulated voice recording, which was reported on by newspapers. In the recording Rukoro is alleged to have said the government has gone too far, and that government is putting its finger in the Hereros’ backside.
Tweya said such tribalistic and divisive tactics are aimed at misleading communities against the government and among the nation.
“These tribal insinuations are a curse that the Namibian government and all peace-loving Namibians should condemn. Tribal incitements of this nature have pushed other nations into ghastly hardships and suffering. Namibia will not be victim to such,” Tweya said.
Rukoro’s utterances were in reaction to the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shiningwa, giving permission to the Maharero Royal House Traditional Authority to commemorate Red Flag Day on land apparently owned by the Ovaherero Traditional Authority. However, the minister later withdrew the permission given to the Maharero Royal House to use the land.
Tweya explained that such comment and accusations will not be entertained at all by the government, adding that referring to the government as an Ovambo government and further disrespecting Namibian leaders, brushing them aside as minorities and insulting them should be condemned with all contempt it deserves.
“Such conduct and attitude have no place of honour in this country. The nation is reminded that for the last 26 years of Namibia’s independence the government has indisputably been elected and accepted by the majority of Namibians without any allegiance to race, tribe or religious orientation.”
“No amount of falsehoods will win any Namibian favour and fame, especially those who have remained in a pre-independence era. It should be a duty call on all Namibians to direct their energy towards nation building,” the minister said.
He added that the government cannot be labelled as tribal or be insulted as such because it has committed itself under oath to serve, defend and protect all Namibians as equal citizens before the law.
“In pursuit of this commitment, the government has strived to create an environment conducive for peace and stability, promulgating laws to enshrine the observance and protection of basic human rights of association, culture, religion, trade, conservation,” the minister said.
He urged citizens to refrain from indulging in any of the evils of racialism and tribalism.
“The government is calling upon all Namibians with divisive attitudes to immediately refrain from inciting general disorder and violence against unsuspecting peace-loving Namibians. We should be aware that hate speeches towards elected and other traditional leaders carry the danger of provoking citizens and subjects of such traditional leaders to rise in defence of themselves or their leaders in word and action,” he said.