Another Herero confrontation in Okahandja

23 August 2019 Author   MAGRETH NUNUHE
Chief of the OtjikaTjamuaha Royal House, Tjinaani Maharero, opened a felony case against assailants from the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) for allegedly assaulting him and his followers with knobkieries during violent confrontations that ensued between the two groups Wednesday this week at the disputed premises of the Red Flag, Erf 1755.

Maharero said that he was attacked by a crowd of men from the OTA known to him, who overpowered his followers and beat him with knobkieries on his shoulders and arms as he blocked the attackers.
He said that old men, who had come to commemorate the Red Flag Day were thrown on the floor, while their food was thrown out and some property was confiscated.
The Red Flag Day is held in remembrance of Chief Samuel Maharero whose remains were repatriated to Namibia from Botswana on 23 August 1923.
“They came to fight. I told my followers not to fight back,” he stated, adding that he went to open a case of assault at the police station before this interview.
I have also spoken to my lawyers,” he added, saying that the High Court order of 2011, which states that a fire ignited by the Maharero Traditional Authority on the premises may not be destroyed, was still in force.
Maharero said that they will continue with their commemorations this weekend, but have decided to move to Erf 1754 to avert further altercations with the other group.
“I have instructed my people to do nothing to the other group,” he said.
But according to unverified claims by the supporters of the OTA, confrontations between supporters of the two groups ensued after the Maharero group reportedly cut down a fence at Erf 1755 in Okahandja belonging to the OTA.
As is the pattern between the two factions of the Ovaherero communities every year, disputes over who can hold annual commemorations that location took center stage again and police had to be called in to intervene.
A video clip posted on social media showed men with knobkieries, presumably from the OTA, guarding the premises, while a man clad in a Red Flag gear pulled down a flag, seemingly hoisted by the OtjikaTjamuaha group.
The OtjikaTjamuaha Royal House followers back Maharero, while the OTA followers support Ovaherero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro.
Spokesperson of the OTA, Bob Kandetu confirmed yesterday’s commotion between the two groups after the Maharero faction allegedly opened or cut the fence of the erf belonging to the OTA.
Kandetu said that the Maharero group had no right to be there as the premises belong to the OTA and has been paid for at the Municipality of Okahandja.
“We agreed that they would pay back our money and give us another place, but the municipality doesn’t have money to pay us back,” Kandetu said, adding that while they were in the process of negotiating with the municipality, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development Peya Mushelenga seemingly gave the Maharero group permission to hold their commemoration there.
Kandetu could not confirm whether the confrontations turned violent yesterday as he was not present during the altercations, but said that “the situation has calmed down now and that the police had cordoned off the area.
But Maharero argued that they did nothing wrong as the OTA does not hold a deed of sale for the Erf in question, nor has it been transferred to their name. He said that if OTA should not take the law into their own hands.
The two factions have held Otjiserandu Day or Red Flag Day separately since disputes between the two groups began years ago.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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