OvaHerero authority office in Okahandja

OKAHANDJA: The OvaHerero Traditional Authority (OTA) administrative office could soon be relocated from Aminius to Okahandja.

Aminius, situated southeast of Gobabis in the Omaheke Region, has been the administrative centre for the OTA’s activities for the past years.

“I have chosen Okahandja for the administrative office of the OTA under my reign,” said OvaHerero Paramount Chief, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro here on Saturday, shortly after he was inaugurated in his new role as chief.

The 61-year-old Rukoro said the reason behind the relocation is the town’s centrality to all his followers in the Otjozondjupa, Omaheke, Erongo, Kunene and Karas regions.

He said Okahandja in the Otjozondjupa Region is the ideal place for activities of a traditional authority because it is where almost all OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu chiefs are buried.

OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu followers come together annually at Okahandja to honour the heroism of their forefathers on the 26 August.

Rukoro argued that Okahandja to the OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu is what Windhoek is to the Namibian people, London to the English, Berlin to the Germans, Moscow to the Russians, Paris to the French, Washington to the Americans and Jerusalem to the Jews and Arabs; it is their capital city.

“We do not only have a historical link to Okahandja but also a cultural and spiritual connection to the place. Okahandja is the central ‘Heroes’ Acre’ for the OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu where their spirits reside,” he noted.

He then told the OvaHerero people residing in countries like Botswana, South Africa, the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK) that the OvaHerero remain one and indivisible.

Rukoro said he will vigorously continue the efforts of late Paramount Chief, Dr Kuaima Riruako who said before his death in 2014 that it was his wish to discuss with other leaders in the Diaspora and their respective governments to recognise the Otjiherero and Nama languages as legitimate for the OvaHerero and Nama citizens in those foreign countries, and to have these languages taught in their schools.

He said some OvaHerero in Botswana do not understand a word of Otjiherero, but they are very proud to be Herero.

Rukoro said Riruako left some matters of high concern unfinished, adding that he was prepared to carry on where the late chief stopped.

He was referring to the Nama and OvaHerero genocide reparation matter.

“I shall continue with this issue, first and foremost with our own Government and see if we could reach a reasonable mutual understanding on this highly emotive issue,” Rukoro said.

He will also approach the German Government to seek dialogue.

Rukoro said the issue of genocide and reparation requires the attendance of the OvaHerero, OvaMbanderu and Nama descendants residing in the Diaspora.

He said they have a legitimate and automatic right to be part of these discussions because had it not been for the extermination order from the then German Army General, Lothar von Trotha, they would not have been born in those foreign states.

Rukoro cited the governments of Germany and Israel for having allowed a non-sovereign Jewish representation to participate in the Brussels Reparations Agreement for the Jewish Holocaust in 1952.

Rukoro follows in the footsteps of his predecessor chiefs like Riruako, Clemens Kapuuo, Hosea Kutako and Samuel Maharero.

He was unanimously elected by various traditional councillors under the OvaHerero Traditional Council at Ehungiro in Otjinene constituency as the successor of Riruako in September 2014.

However, the Namibian Government does not recognise the position of OvaHerero Paramount Chief.