BUKALO - Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says traditional authorities are the custodians of diverse customs and traditions and that these traditions are the glue that binds the country’s different tribal communities that are found across the length and breadth of Namibia.
“Traditional authorities are the custodians of the customs and traditions of traditional communities. These traditions and customs have kept our communities together, sustaining them as cohesive social units which are well organized and mobilized to ensure their members’ social and economic development,” she said on Saturday at the Bwikuhane Bwetu Annual Cultural Festival at Bukalo.
“The external influence on our communities that came with, especially colonialism impacted negatively on the way that many of our communities function, both at the broad societal level and at household and individual levels,” she said in her keynote address to the thousands gathered.
“Traditional authorities, therefore play an important role of ensuring that our traditional values are upheld and passed on to future generations to ensure that we maintain our identity as a people and that we can forge forward towards a bright future of peace and prosperity as a nation,” she said.
She noted it is for this reason that the Namibian government from the time the country attained its independence provided for the role of traditional authorities in the supreme law, the constitution, and subsequently, the Traditional Authorities Act.
Government, she stressed is committed to nurture cooperation between the various traditional authorities in various areas of endevour as a nation and that it puts its people at the centre in its quest for development, to ensure improved social welfare for all Namibian citizens.
“In this regard, we shall continue to ensure that the development programmes implemented amongst our different communities aimed to improve their livelihoods are designed and implemented with the improvement of the communities,” she told the event attended by Chief Kisco Liswani III and his guests who included Chief Joseph Tembwe of the Mashi Traditional Authority and Chief Boniface Shufu of the Mayeyi Traditional Authority.
She praised the communities that have optimized and benefitted from land reform development and tourism activities and she urged those that have not done so to make maximum efforts to benefit from these developmental initiatives.
The Prime Minister further heaped praise on traditional authorities that made a positive contribution leading up and during the actual land conference and made it a success.
She urged traditional authorities to help and cooperate with government to successfully implement its current drought relief programme while at the same time collaborate on efforts to curb crime specifically violence against women and to assist with initiatives to curb drug and alcohol abuse.
On the Zambezi Region having the potential to become the country’s breadbasket, she said “government will work relentlessly to help make this a reality.”