WINDHOEK - The Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development has requested the two factions disputing succession of the late Chief Christian Eerike Zeraeua at Omatjete - to come together and resolve their differences.
According to those privy to the meetings that took place last week between the ministry and the two rival groups of Raphael Hiangungo Kapia, of the Ovakweyuva Notjipepa clan and Manase Meundju Zeraeua, son of the late Zeraeua, each side was asked to select four members to steer the debate over the chieftaincy squabble.
“Government invoked the dispute and set up an investigation committee of legal and traditional experts,” said Verikenda Rukoro, a spokesperson of the Kapia faction.
He said on Thursday the two groups presented evidence on the issue in front of each other and the government delegation for the latter to listen to each side in order to present their findings to the minister of regional and local government.
Rukoro stated that the government delegation encouraged them to talk to each other by starting small committees as in the end it will be up to them to resolve the dispute.
“The delegation said we can solve the dispute without government intervention,” he said, adding that they agreed in principle to talk, but nothing has been followed up since then.
According to Rukoro, there is no constitution used as guideline for succession, but they are using customs of the Zeraeua Royal House and notes that the late chief wrote as direction as to who is to take over his seat after his death.
Asked if the dispute between the two factions would be solved any time soon, he said “it can go either way depending on the will of the people”.
“Unless people stick to their guns, it’s easy to solve,” he added.
But Phillip Ngunovandu, spokesperson of the Zeraeua group said the whole proceedings did not go the way they wanted and they did not agree with the recommendation to select four members on each side as the aim of the gathering was initially to look at the family tree for succession.
“The others (Kapia group) were talking about the High Court case which wasted time,” he said, adding that the Zeraeua group tried everything in their power to come to the table with the Kapia faction, but the latter even refused to meet with the Erongo Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua.
Ngunovandu said that after the High Court reserved judgment on the succession issue, both groups were asked to go and reorganize themselves, but the Kapia group apparently did their own investigations and made their recommendations about the chieftaincy succession without consulting them.
“We reason that Manase (Zeraeua) is the son of the deceased (chief). They argue that the seat belongs to the maternal line. It’s news to us,” he added.
He said that the traditional authority act states very clearly that when a chief dies, his younger brother or his eldest son should take the seat.
“Government declared a dispute, but we never went through all stages of arbitration. We have never come together. We are still at the negotiating stage,” he said.
Government sent a delegation on a fact-finding mission last week to establish who the rightful heir is to the Zeraeua Royal House in the wake of a protracted chieftaincy dispute between Kapia, of the Ovakweyuva Notjipepa clan and Manasse Zeraeua, son of the late chief who passed away in 2012.
Supporters of Kapia claim that the latter should take over as chief because the Ovakweyuva Notjipepa clan is the rightful custodian of the royal house and he is the son of the chief from whom Chief Christian Zeraeua took over in 1979.
But the Zeraeua faction says that Manasse is the son of the deceased chief and should become the next chief.
Subsequently, both factions held separate coronations for each claimant to the throne and requested government recognition.
But the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Jerry Ekandjo approved Zeraeua as the heir to the throne.
Kapia challenged the recognition of Zeraeua and held further that the decision to approve the designation of Zeraeua as the chief of the Zeraeua traditional community was unfair and unreasonable. New Era Reporter
2014-10-16 07:46:20 | 5 years ago