Great Loss

HERERO paramount chief Kuaima Riruako has died. Riruako died at the Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek yesterday. He was 79 years old.

A spokesperson for the Riruako family, Hoze Riruako, said the late chief died at around 16h00. One hour earlier he had received a bedside visit from President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Riruako said.

The late Riruako spent the last five weeks of his life in hospital, where he was admitted on 26 April to be treated for high blood pressure.

By last night, friends and members of his political party, Nudo, and subjects, had gathered at the Commando Hall in Katutura to comfort each other.

The President as well as the Prime Minister’s office could not comment yesterday, saying it was too early.

Some Herero chiefs who declined to be named because they are not authorised to speak to the media said they have lost a straight forward man and that they will not find any such man.

The chief’s first wife, Constancia, said their children inherited his strength and bravery. She hoped they will continue with his legacy.

His two children – Brian and Mathilda – said even though they knew that the chief was not feeling well, they were not prepared for his passing on.

“We wanted him to live long and see us making him proud of us,” Mathilda said.

Riruako has been the paramount chief of Ovaherero since 1978 and since 2003, he also led the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo), of which he was a founding member in 1964, after that party’s breakaway from the DTA of Namibia and its registration as a separate political entity.

Riruako served as a DTA member of the National Assembly from 1995 until 2003. He served as a Nudo member of the National Assembly from March 2005.

Over the past decade Riruako has been at the forefront of attempts to hold Germany accountable and to compensate the Ovaherero people over the large-scale killing of the people by German colonial forces in Namibia from 1904 to 1907.

Riruako, who was born at Aminuis in Omaheke, went into exile in 1964. After living in Botswana, Ghana, Zambia and the United States, where he furthered his education and obtained a BA degree at New York University, he returned to Namibia in 1977.

He became the highest traditional leader of the Ovaherero after the assassination of Paramount Chief Clemens Kapuuo in Katutura on 27 March 1978.

Riruako served as president of the DTA, of which Nudo was a member party, during the 1980s, before Mishake Muyongo succeeded him in that post.

Source : The Namibian