A Nation Pays Homage to Riruako

After 18 days of nation-wide mourning the late Herero chief Kuaima Riruako’s body arrived in his boyhood village of Otjongombe on Friday. There, ritual ceremonies will take place according to the Ovaherero tradition before next week Sunday’s state burial in Okahandja.

Scores of people lined the Windhoek-Gobabis and the Gobabis-Aminuis road to see the cortege pass through, with some having climbed into trees for a better view.

Riruako’s remains were on Friday morning transported from Windhoek to Aminuis for a tribute from the people he devoted his entire life to since 1978, when he was recalled from America to lead the Ovaherero tribe after the assassination of Chief Hosea Kutako in that same year.

Omaheke Regional Governor Festus Ueite saluted Riruako’s commitment to the Namibian people and said his life’s work would never be forgotten. He said as a fellow parliamentarian he had come to know Riruako as a person who was very eager to contribute to national debates.

“I found him to be general reservoir of knowledge, experience and wisdom which he shared effortlessly … indeed a true representative of various opinions of the masses out there,” he said.

He said while the Riruako family had lost a father, the entire nation has also lost a guardian father, adding that Riruako always provided him with sound aice on leadership.

“We all know that Chief Riruako was the leader of Nudo but we can say he was the leader of the whole of Namibia and that’s why the government has given him this recognition,” said the governor.

“For any country to prosper we need more Riruako’s,” he said.

He added that Riruako commanded the respect of everyone who knew him because of what he did and the contributions he made to society.

“Riruako will always be remembered for his intelligence, jokes,” he said, adding that the nation has also lost an excellent administrator and a man of many capabilities.

“Go well Riruako … we will always remember you as an outstanding leader,” he said.

“Suva mohange munane wetu (rest in peace our leader),” he said.

Speaking at the village, chief after chief, speaker after speaker described Riruako as a humble man who devoted his entire life to serving the lives of the Ovaherero and Namibian people at large.

“Riruako could have been a millionaire if it were not for the time he dedicated to the Ovaherero and the Namibian nation,” said one senior traditional leader, adding that the Ovaherero tribes should use Riruako’s death as a platform for unity.

Family spokesperson, Hoze Riruako, thanked all of those who paid their respects around the country in recent days. “I have witnessed his army, I have witnessed his people, I have witnessed ordinary Namibians and this is a clear indication who he was. This is so because his spirit lives on,” he said.

Some of the traditional chiefs who gathered to pay homage were Chief Joel Stephanus of the Vaalgras Traditional Authority, Ovambanderu Traditional Authority Acting Chief Gerson Katjirua flanked by Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Kilus Nguvauva, and Omuara (Queen) Karikondua Nguvauva of the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority.

Chief Tjitana Kavei of Gam, Chief Vipuira Kapuuo of Ovitoto and Chief Turimuro Hoveka of the Hoveka Traditional House were among many others who preached unification at the ceremony.

Sunday’s funeral at Okahandja is expected to draw more than 10 000 mourners, some from as far as Botswana, South Africa and many other countries across the continent.

Riruako’s body will be transported on Saturday morning by the military to Okahandja where President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Prime Minister Hage Geingob are expected to be in attendance. This was confirmed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Mbeuta Ndjarakana, yesterday.

Founding Father former president Sam Nujoma is also expected to attend. Riruako will be laid to rest in front of his uncle Chief Hosea Kutako.

Source : New Era