The race has begun to succeed the late Omukwaniilwa Immanuel Kauluma Elifas as the chairperson of the Council of Traditional Authorities in Namibia.
The position became vacant following the death of Elifas who at the time was the leader of the Ondonga Traditional Authority and has been serving as chairperson of the council from 1997 until the time of his death in 2019.
The late Elifas and the late Ovambanderu Chief Munyuku II Nguvauva were elected as the first chairperson and deputy chairperson of the council in 1997, respectively.
Munyuku passed away in 2008 and was replaced by Oe#Gan Chief Immanuel /Gaseb.
/Gaseb and Omukwaniilwa Fillemon Nangolo of the Ondonga Traditional Authority are vying for the role of chairperson, while Tjinaani Maharero, the chief of the Maharero Royal House, will be running for the position of deputy chairperson.
The election is set for next week’s 23rd annual meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders.
The five-day meeting will take place in Eenhana, in the Ohangwena region, from Monday, 5 September. President Hage Geingob is expected to open the event themed: ‘Traditional Leaders Supporting Post-Covid-19 Recovery’.
/Gaseb yesterday confirmed, saying that he will only stand if the council wants him to.
“I have been acting in that position since the passing of Kauluma. So I will only stand if the council wants me to, otherwise I will prefer to remain in my current position as the deputy chair,” /Gaseb said.
Maharero said he is ready to take up any position whether chairpersonship or deputy chairperson position.
Ondonga Traditional Authority secretary Frans Enkali yesterday said the traditional authorities would not know whether Nangolo will be seconded by the council, therefore they would not comment.
There are 52 recognised chiefs, to which government pays a N$2 100 monthly allowance to each, and a N$1 800 monthly allowance to 306 senior traditional councillors.
It also pays a monthly allowance of N$1 600 to 306 junior traditional councillors, N$1 300 for each traditional authority secretary, N$1 000 monthly allowance for each traditional authority driver and a quarterly petrol allowance of N$3 000 to each recognised traditional authority.
In total, government spends N$20.6 million a year on traditional authorities. Besides allowances paid, between 2009 and 2016, government handed brand new 4x4 Toyota Hilux double cab vehicles to all recognised traditional authorities throughout the country.
According to the Council of Traditional Authorities Act, members of the council which shall consist of two members from all recognised traditional authorities shall at their first meeting elect a chairperson and vice chairperson of the council from their members.
The Act further says the chairperson and vice chairperson of the council shall hold office until he or she - ceases to be a member of the council or resigns as chairperson or vice chairperson or is removed from office as chairperson or vice chairperson by resolution of the council.
Traditional authority leaders have been calling for the amendment of the Act so that the chairperson or vice chairperson positions can be on a five-year rotational basis.