President Hage Geingob has once again condemned infighting among traditional leaders, saying they should emulate the unity of the Ondonga Traditional Authority for them to be useful.
About 11 members of the Ondonga traditional authority, led by its leader Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo, paid a courtesy call on Geingob at State House yesterday.
Geingob said there is no unity in some traditional authorities, hence government leaders spend their precious time on traditional leaders’ fights. He added that traditional leaders are expected to maintain cultures and customs, and not fight one another.
“About 30% of my time is used on traditional fights in the country. So, use their example on how it is done,” he said.
He praised the Ondonga traditional authority for pursuing unity and diversity.
The head of state said traditional leaders are fighting, and want the line minister to interfere. But when he intervenes in their squables, they say he is dividing people.
“We can’t interfere in a traditional election. That is not our business. If there is a traditional election, use tradition. And now the poor minister is being attacked. People are fighting there [and] humble you when you interfere. People are not fair. I am using this occasion to talk to traditional authorities,” he stated.
He added that government knows traditional leaders’ roles, and that they are the custodians of culture.
“A nation without culture is not a nation, but we accept that there is another culture as well. As I was saying, we belong to tribes and ethnic groups,” Geingob added.
“We must be proud of that, but when you become tribalist and racist, then that is where the problem is. Currently, we are seeing tendencies of accusing the minister of dividing people while he is doing his job.”
On his part, Nangolo told the President that he decided to pay a courtesy call to reciprocate after Geingob visited the Ondonga palace twice.
He told the President that the Aandonga are prepared to work together with the government to fight common challenges such as drought, as they have created a food programme that will feed destitute families.
“I would like to tell you that the Ondonga people received good rains, and most of the people are expecting a bumper harvest this year. Again, the traditional authority has come up with a food project that cultivated the 50 hectares of maize, and the harvest will feed those in need,” he added.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila praised the traditional authority for the food project, saying it will meet the drought relief programme halfway.
According to information presented in parliament in 2017, there are 52 recognised chiefs, costing government in excess of N$20 million each year.
Government pays a N$2 100 monthly allowance to each of the recognised chiefs, 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, a N$1 000 monthly allowance for each traditional authority driver as well as 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 cabs to all recognised traditional authorities throughout the country.