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01 Jan 2002 00:00
Herero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako has accused the apartheid South African regime of being responsible for the death of Chief Clemens Kapuuo who was shot dead in April 1978.
Kuaima told thousands of Hereros at the Red Flag Day commemoration in Okahandja on Sunday that “Kapuuo was killed by colonial imperial capitalists especially the South African regime and their cohorts.”
“I am saying this because even today the inquest on his death is not clear,” he said.
He told the gathering that he had asked South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Namibian government to demystify Chief Kapuuo’s assassination by naming the killer, but that no response seemed forthcoming.
Riruako stressed that his people were demanding to know the killer of their late chief.
“I want people to be clear on this occurrence. In 1960, Patrice Lumumba was killed and today it is known who killed him.
Anton Lubowski’s inquest never ended, but we know who killed him.
“Let us be honest. The very same people who are refusing to find out who killed Kapuuo, gave him a state funeral,” Riruako charged without any further elaboration.
Chief Kapuuo, a Herero leader, was regarded by many as the ideal president elect of a future independent South West Africa (now Namibia) because of his contribution to the country’s liberation struggle from colonial rule.
Immediately after Kapuuo’s death, racial violence flared up as Hereros countrywide attacked those whom they suspected and blamed for their chief’s death.
In March 1978, the Wall Street Journal reported: “the South West African police turned back hundreds of Herero tribesmen seeking to avenge the murder of pro-South African Chief Clemens Kapuuo, who was a likely first president of independent Namibia.
Their target was the rival Ovambo tribe, which largely supports the pro-Soviet South West African Peoples Organization (Swapo), which is blamed for the shooting.
“Chief Kapuuo is buried in here next to other great Namibian leaders Chief Hosea Kutako, Chief David Ndisiro and Kaptein Jonker Afrikaner.” - Sapa-Nampa
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