The Ovaherero Chiefs Council’s meeting set for this weekend at Aminius, Onderombapa in the Omaheke region is allegedly aimed at removing acting paramount chief Vipuira Kapuuo from the position, New Era has learned.
As per tradition, Kapuuo became acting paramount chief by virtue of him being the chairperson of the chiefs’ council, following the death of paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro earlier this year.
Kapuuo will allegedly be replaced by his deputy chief, Bethold Tjiundje.
This led to Kapuuo, through his lawyers PD Theron Associates, threatening on Tuesday to approach the High Court to interdict against any person who seeks to execute any decision taken at the weekend’s “irregular chiefs’ council meeting”.
“I am already in the process of scheduling a properly constituted council meeting for early 2022, and measures are already underway to ensure that the prerequites are met,” said Kapuuo in a letter through his lawyers to Tjiundje, Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) transitional committee chairperson Mutjinde Katjiua and two others.
He added that the date and venue for the chiefs’ council meeting will be advised in due course, and formal invitations will be issued to authorised council members.
Meanwhile, a meeting held by the Ovaherero Red Flag Association in Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa region last weekend resolved that Kapuuo remains the acting paramount chief of the community.
The high-profile meeting, attended by 10 of its 15 members, also resolved that the OTA will not accept command from anyone else than Kapuuo.
In a letter to Kapuuo, Katjiua vowed to go ahead with this weekend’s meeting, stating that the meeting is long-overdue and should take precedence over other matters.
“Dear Chief Kapuuo - this is a moment of peril for this nation. The Namibian parliament is set to approve the sell-out deal, which is inimical to our interest as a people. It is also a moment of opportunity in that a new government is being constituted in Germany, which we can engage,” he said.
“Needless to say, this situation calls for unity of purpose amongst all Ovaherero people, and we therefore cannot afford the level of disunity because of individual interests.”
Two centres of power
There appear to be two centres of power within the OTA, one being the transitional committee chaired by Katjiua, and the chiefs’ council, chaired by Kapuuo.
On one hand, there is Tjiundje and chief Boas Tjingaete, who are members of the chiefs’ council, supporting the transitional committee to facilitate the appointment of the new paramount chief; while on the other hand there is Kapuuo and chief Usiel Kambirongo and others who feel the chiefs’ council should facilitate the process without interference.
Veteran journalist and traditionalist Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro explained that the succession of the Ovaherero paramount chief is not hereditary, but a process done through election. “It means if there is more than one candidate, they are elected. Candidates are nominated widely, especially by the constituent communities,” he said yesterday.
“There have been instances when the successor has been anointed by the incumbent by confiding in confidantes within the traditional structures. But it is not automatic that the anointed becomes the successor, but he may have to compete with other nominees. The whole process from nomination to the election and/or affirmation of the anointed is usually presided over by the chairperson of the chiefs’ council, who is the de facto acting paramount chief or is affirmed as such by the chiefs’ council.”