Chief Riruako was a bold and vocal leader: Pohamba

WINDHOEK: President Hifikepunye Pohamba described the late OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako as a “bold and vocal leader” who expressed his views freely and honestly.

Riruako will be remembered for his characteristics of openness and courage when expressing himself on issues affecting his people and country, said Pohamba in a speech read on his behalf by Prime Minister Hage Geingob during Riruako’s memorial service at Parliament Garden on Friday.

Riruako passed away on 02 June this year in a Windhoek hospital after a long illness.

“Chief Riruako is no more, but his legacy will live on and his actions will be remembered and emulated by many of his compatriots,” said the Namibian Head of State.

He said the nation has lost a national leader and a unique personality who served his country and people with compassion and dedication.

“We mourn and accept this loss with heavy hearts,” he said, adding that the passing away of Riruako is not only a big loss to his family and OvaHerero community, but also to Namibia as a whole.

Riruako will especially be remembered for the role he played in dealing with the Namibia-Germany historical past.

He stood firm in his demands for reparation, and introduced a motion in Parliament which was debated and eventually unanimously approved, calling for reparations for the victims of the genocide committed by imperial German colonial forces in the country between 1904 and 1908.

In that way, Pohamba said, he demonstrated to his community in particular, and to the people of Namibia in general, how strongly he felt about the need to address the past injustices committed by the German occupational forces in Namibia.

Riruako also played a prominent role in the return of the human remains of the victims of the genocide from Germany.

The chief’s body laid in State for people to view throughout Friday evening.

On Saturday morning, the deceased’s family, accompanied by the Namibian Defence Force, took the chief’s remains to Okahandja, where he will be laid to rest on Sunday.