Govt Requests State Funeral for Riruako

GOVERNMENT has requested the Ovaherero Traditional Authority for permission to bury the late Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako at the Heroes’ Acre.

Should their request be denied, government expects to, at least, hold a State funeral.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba is still consulting the chiefs council of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority about the final details of the funeral.

All indications, however, are that the chief will only be buried towards the end of June.

A source, who aises the council, said Heroes’ Acre was off-limits as Riruako should be buried at Okahandja.

“Chief Riruako must be laid to rest alongside his ancestors at the historic and sacred site at the town of Okahandja,” the source said.

The late Riruako’s legal aiser, Vekuii Rukoro, confirmed that Pohamba has asked for government’s involvement with the funeral arrangements.

“The President consulted us and asked for government’s involvement in the funeral and for the late Riruako to be laid to rest at the Heroes’ Acre, but we are in discussions and nothing has been decided yet. If and when we finalise the discussion and come up with a decision, we will have a press conference to announce the outcome,” Rukoro said.

Asked who will succeed the late Riruako, Rukoro said it was too early to tell.

“We haven’t even laid our chief to rest. There are no discussions around that. We have an acting chief in Tumbee Tjombe,” Rukoro said.

President Pohamba yesterday said Riruako was one of his best friends when he paid a visit to extend his condolences to the family and the mourning Ovaherero community.

He sang praises of Riruako and the role he played in the motion that was passed in parliament on genocide and the repatriation of skulls from Germany to Namibia.

“When I heard of his passing I remembered the time he visited me at State House. We were joking and talking for hours. But sadly the chief is no more, the country and the community lost a leader. So I am calling on the government, present and future leaders not to stop demanding and fighting for what Riruako demanded,” Pohamba said in a speech.

Among those who visited the family were Dirk Mudge, the founder of the Republican Party of Namibia, who also described chief Riruako as a fighter who never wavered.

“I first met chief Riruako in New York in 1973. Since then he has never changed. He was a straight person and never believed in violence. He had a good sense of humour and that I will miss about him,” Mudge said.

Meanwhile, a source claimed that the chief’s remains will be taken to Aminuis via Gobabis and then to Otjinene before being brought back to Windhoek. After that, he will be taken to Okahandja.

Riruako died on Monday afternoon at the Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek. He was admitted on 26 April due to high blood pressure and had been in the intensive care unit ever since.

Sources in the chief’s council of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority said Rukoro’s name has been coming up as the next paramount chief.

“Rukoro has been playing a vital role in aising the late chief and the council. His name came up several times and it looks like they will consider him as the successor,” the source said.

Rukoro, however, said those were unfounded rumours.

“There is nothing like that. They are rumours. It is very early for anyone in the council or any other level to talk about the next chief,” Rukoro fumed.

Source : The Namibian