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Home / Uukwangali chieftaincy dispute drags on… Swapo, governor accused of interference

Uukwangali chieftaincy dispute drags on… Swapo, governor accused of interference

2023-12-13  John Muyamba

Uukwangali chieftaincy dispute drags on… Swapo, governor accused of interference

A group of elders, pushing for Severinus Siteketa to be crowned as the traditional head (hompa) of Uukwangali Traditional Authority (UTA), have accused the ruling party, Swapo, and regional governor of interfering in the ongoing chieftaincy conflict. 

The group wants Siteketa to replace Eugene Kudumo, whose recognition as UTA chief was revoked by both the High and Supreme courts in 2019 and 2020, respectively. 

The Supreme Court ordered the selection process to start afresh.

This consequently resulted in Kudumo submitting a new application for recognition to the line ministry from whom he is waiting for a response.

Sikerete’s application, on the other hand, is allegedly yet to be signed by Kavango West governor Sirkka Ausiku.

Speaking on behalf of the elders, Andreas Kamukwanyama said they are aware that the Swapo office has been supporting Kudumo through the offices of the regional coordinators David Hamutenya and Ausiku.

“The governor has been refusing to sign our application of Siteketa, but he has been signing for Kudumo, which is illegal,” he said. 

He said Ausiku cannot have preferences, and that he should have an objective mind while dealing with applications.

“We are aware of politically well-connected members from the region who are interfering in this process, and they continue to do so to this day,’’ said

In addition, despite court rulings, many people continue to act in contempt of the court orders, he said.

“Kudumo continues to act and present himself as hompa of the Ukwangali Traditional Community with support from the governor, while Julius Hambyuka illegally continues to present himself as chairperson of the UTA or chiefs’ council to date. These are people put in positions to run traditional affairs. Hambyuka does not understand that this is not a political matter but a traditional matter,” he said.


Support for Kudumo

A week ago, Hambyuka, who was appointed as a chairman of the chiefs’ council by Siwombe, said all royal family factions gave their blessings, and supported Kudumo’s designation to be a hompa.

But Kamukwanyama, in support of Siteketa, said the three senior royal family lines (Nasira/Mangondo, Kapango and Lyankova) were not part of such a meeting, and they would never support a process that is not per the Ukwangali customary laws. 

“Hambyuka, himself, does not know the Kwangali customary laws – and him being a parliamentarian does not make him an expert in traditional matters,” said Kamukwanyama.

He went on to say, “He (Hambyuka) has no right to try and change our customary laws – and they will remain, and we will protect them for the benefit of the vaKwangali community. 

The late Rudolf Ngondo was an expert, and he designated chiefs/hompas of the vaKwangali community, including the late Hompa Daniel Sitentu Mpasi. Kudumo will not be supported for hompa with his record of illegally selling off communal land and displacing Kwangali people amongst his many deeds”. 

Thus, his deeds are against the powers and functions of a hompa as per the Traditional Authorities Act and customary laws of the vaKwangali community.


Council recognition under Kudumo

Hambyuka, while talking to New Era recently, stated that the courts did not strip the chiefs’ council, headmen and headwomen under Kudumo. However, Kamukwanyama said the decision of the courts was not against Kudumo alone but the entire UTA as well, especially since the person who appointed them was removed. 

“Kudumo was ordered not to perform any functions as chief of Ukwangali Traditional Authority. These are structures under the chief/hompa that administer the traditional affairs. How can they still exist without a hompa? If they were part of the traditional authority and they continue to function, then their whole activities are flawed in support of Kudumo,” said Kamukwanyama.

He said those who were appointed by Kudumo cannot carry out functions on behalf of UTA, as their appointment is illegal.  New Era engaged Ausiku for a comment. She, however, indicated that she has not picked a side, and that the Siteketa faction can submit their application, and her office would do as required.

Kavango West Swapo coordinator David Hamutenya disparaged the political allegations levelled against his office and party.

“Our office does not interfere or influence traditional authority matters; it is none of our business – even Kudumo’s faction never came to our office and vice versa. We don’t have a mandate to interfere. 

Yes, we have a brother of Kudumo working at our office as an admin, and he is always at their meetings because he is part of their family, and he is there in his capacity,’’ he said. 


2023-12-13  John Muyamba

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