Marthina Mutanga and Samuel Shinedima
THE Ovaherero Red Flag Heroes’ Day in Okahandja went ahead under police supervision.
Some of the rituals performed on the day, however, did not take place because of the ongoing dispute between the Maharero royal house and the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA).
The police in Okahandja managed to control the situation that turned ugly between the two factions in the days leading up to the commemoration.
Members of the OTA blocked the graveyard and refused to allow members from the Maharero royal house from entering the site where the late Chief Hosea Kutako, Chief Kuaima Riruako and Chief Clemens Kapuuo are buried.
Chief Tjinaani Maharero from the Maharero royal house confirmed the misunderstanding with the OTA, insisting that the members of the traditional authority attacked them while they were sitting on land belonging to the Okahandja municipality.
Mahatero added that no one was injured during the commotion on Thursday.
Chief Vekuii Rukoro of the OTA confirmed that things are now under control all thanks to the gallantry of those on the ground in Okahandja.
“This morning, men were separated from boys and we ultimately won the war of nerves against both the partisan police leadership and the reactionary Royal House collaborators,” he said.
Rukoro noted that they achieved their objective of preventing “agent provocateurs from going to pay respects to our heroes and heroines as they set out to do”.
Through their steadfast resolve, he noted, they forced the police to reluctantly step in and separate the two sides and in the process to prevent violence from erupting.
“As far as we are concerned, it is mission accomplished by our brave sons and daughters,” said Rukoro, adding “The partiality of the police was today clearly demonstrated by the one sided arrests made of OTA members who allegedly assaulted Chief Maharero on Thursday while trespassing on OTA land. This, while OTA was the first in laying criminal charges against Chief Maharero and others for trespassing and malicious damage to private property. All of them are still free and enjoying police protection while our members were subjected to police harassment and threats.”
Rukoro condemned what he claims is “police favouritism” with the contempt he said it deserves.
“Their deliberate inaction on Thursday to enforce the law for up to 8 hours was the directed cause of the violent confrontation that broke out when our members were left to their own devices to evict the intruders in the face of police refusal to do the job for which taxpayers pay them,” he concluded.