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Eiseb, Epukiro inhabitants must reject parochial egoism

2018-11-09  Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

Eiseb, Epukiro inhabitants must reject parochial egoism
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“South African officials attempted to implement apartheid Bantustan policies in Hereroland by creating easily controlled chiefs or “traditional authorities. They attempted to achieve this by manipulating intra-Herero identity politics, promising water development to cooperative factions and denying it to the resistant majority.” 

This is an excerpt from Lines in the Sand: The Global Politics of Local Development in Apartheid-Era Namibia, 1950-1980, by Molly McCullers in his 2012 doctoral thesis in history at the Emory University in the United States of America.
Apartheid is gone, Namibia is now an independent and sovereign country. But she inherited traditional authorities, which the government of the free and independent Namibia, shortly after independence, following the Kozonguizi Commission, decided to embrace traditional leaders,

Hence the various legislative frameworks in this regard – starting with the Council of Traditional Leaders Act of 1997 and the Traditional Authorities Act of 2000. 

The Traditional Authorities Act has since seen two types of traditional communities in the country, those based on royal houses, thus with their heads as chiefs, and other heads of traditional communities whose ancestry may necessarily not be based on royalty.  

Although the Namibian government may today not be accused of dishing out recognition as a patronage in ala colonial regime’s style, it cannot be altogether be dismissed that patronage somehow is at the root of such recognition. 
This is especially from the perspective of the traditional communities themselves who have been at each other’s throats to gain such recognition. In this regard there has been fierce competition among various traditional communities for such recognition by the government. 

With those already recognised out to protect their recognition by all means necessary, including preventing the recognition of those they deem a threat to their hegemony of recognition. 

This is exactly what has been transpiring, among others, between the Hoveka Traditional Authority, which has been clamouring for recognition in Epukiro, currently the traditional seat of the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority since shortly after independence. 

Thus, following news of the recognition of the Hoveka Royal House last week, though its recognition is in Eiseb Block in the Otjombinde Constituency, old rivalries between it and the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority seem to have been rekindled, if it had ever subsided. 

Despite claiming Epukiro as the right historical seat of its traditional authority, the Hoveka Royal House, with their erstwhile chief, Nikanor Hoveka who led the first trek way back in 1923 of the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu out Imperial Germany’s concentration camps for a sojourn in Epukiro, it has been legally compelled to apply for recognition in the Eiseb Block as the Traditional Authority Act does not allow for a dual recognition of similar traditional authorities.  

One would have thought given this compromise on the part of the Hoveka Traditional Authority, and now that each would have an own traditional area where each is recognised, as much the two areas somehow overlap in terms of traditional communities subjects, followers or supporters, this would have seen the beginning at best of the end of the hatchet of parochialism, and at times senseless and unpatriotic rivalries. And, at best, the beginning of purposeful, constructive and fruitful engagement towards a new foundation in the interest of the development of the two constituencies in Epukiro and Otjombinde.

This is regrettable and does not auger well for development, which the two constituencies very much crave for and are in need of. 

Rivalries, bigotry and parochialism have, to a great extent, factored the slow development of both constituencies. One needs look no further than the Epukiro Constituency, which until the 2005 regional and local authority elections was part of the Otjinene Constituency.  The rational for the severance of Epukiro from Otjinene has been portrayed by the proponents thereof as developmental – essentially to absolve it from developmental suffocation it was suffering while being part of the Otjinene Constituency.   

But 15 years or so after, slow if lack of development altogether is not a matter of conjecture but a reality for especially Epukiro, and as much for Eiseb Block.  Only once again for the ghost of underdevelopment in Epukiro, and by extension its contagious and debilitating tentacles to Eiseb Block in the Otjombinde Constituency. Simply because leaders continue to misinform and mislead their benign folks and flocks for parochial political and traditional-cum-tribal egoism and hegemony. 

This simply is something the inhabitants of Eiseb Block, or Otjombinde nor Epukiro constituencies, should allow. No more in this age and era. 

2018-11-09  Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

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