ONGWEDIVA – Ink had barely dried on a ministerial letter yesterday confirming Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as the designate Omukwaniilwa of Ondonga, when his uncle Konis Kalenga, who is also a claimant to the throne, threatened an urgent court interdict yesterday.
Minister of Urban and Rural Development Peya Mushelenga yesterday approved Shuumbwa’s application as designate Omukwaniilwa of the Ondonga Traditional Community.
“… I am hereby notifying you as per the provision of Section 5(2) of the Traditional Authorities Act, (No 25 of 2000) that I have approved the application to designate Mr Shuumbwa Fillemon Nangolo as Chief/ Head of Ondonga Traditional Community to succeed the late Chief Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, who passed away on 26 March 2019,” said Mushelenga.
However, Shikongo Law Chambers, representing what it termed the Ondonga Royal House and Ondonga Traditional Authority who back Kalenga, wrote an urgent letter to Mushelenga, countering his approval of Shuumbwa’s recognition.
They wanted to know why Mushelenga has not replied to the request to approve Kalenga as Omukwaniilwa of Ondonga, or that such request lacked in substance.
“Our client disputes your decision to approve the application in respect of Mr Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo and consider such approval to be unlawful and invalid,” wrote Kalenga’s lawyers.
They gave the minister until tomorrow to reconsider his position or an urgent interdict application would be lodged in court.
Two rival factions within Ondonga have been at each other’s throats, each pushing for its candidate to be recognised as Omukwaniilwa to lead the populous traditional community since the passing of Omukwaniilwa Immanuel Kauluma Elifas in March.
While Shuumbwa was allegedly nominated by the late Elifas as his right-hand man and successor, the other faction has not agreed to this and has hence nominated Kalenga as its choice for the hotly-contested throne.
The minister in a letter, addressed to the gazetted Secretary of Ondonga Traditional Authority Joseph Asino, asked the authority to notify him of the time and place of the designation to enable the minister or his representative to attend the designation.
Although Shuumbwa was traditionally crowned the morning after Elifas’ burial, plans are afoot to officially crown him on June 29 at his palace at Onambango.
Contacted for comment, Asino said he did not have words to express himself.
“Today we are only ululating,” said Asino. The spokesperson of Kalenga’s faction or the royal family spokesperson Oscar Sheehama said he has not yet heard about the news or seen the letter.
“I can only comment once I have seen the letter,” said Sheehama.
Nepando Amupanda, who has since replaced Asino at the Ondonga Traditional Authority office at Oluno, said he was not yet fully informed about the minister’s decision.
Just recently, Mushelenga also gave the suspended Ondonga councillors – who double as justices and assessors – to resume the community court proceedings which have been on hold following the squabbles in Ondonga
“The Honourable Minister has therefore directed that the Ondonga Community Court resume at Onethindi with the equipment provided by the Ministry of Justice to ensure that the court is a court of record,” read the press statement at the time.
The justices and assessors have since attended a refresher course, and the court will resume soon after the official coronation, Asino told New Era.