The late Ovambanderu chief Kilus Nguvauva’s application, in which he challenged government’s decision to recognise chief Turimuro Hoveka as a traditional leader, will only be heard next year.
Nguvauva had before his death on 1 July approached the High Court in September 2019 for the court to review and set aside a decision by Peya Mushelenga, then Minister of Urban and Rural Development, to recognise Hoveka as a traditional leader, and to declare it null and void.
He had further sought a court interdict that would prohibit Hoveka from establishing a traditional authority in respect of members of the Ovambanderu Traditional Community (including the Hoveka clan) inhabiting Eiseb Block, Epukiro, Otjombinde, Aminius, Otjinene, Opuwo and Gam.
On 23 November 2018, Mushelenga recognised Hoveka and his traditional seat, and the Hoveka Royal House, as a traditional authority in the jurisdiction of Eiseb Block in the Otjombinde constituency of the Omaheke region.
President Hage Geingob has been cited as the second respondent in the matter. Other respondents are Hoveka, the Council of Traditional Leaders and then Omaheke governor Festus Ueitele.
It was Nguvauva’s argument that the Hoveka clan is one of the clans that make up the OvaMbanderu, and the area alleged to be occupied by the Otjimana community, which is represented by the Hoveka Royal House, falls within the jurisdiction of the OvaMbanderu Traditional Authority.
“There is no Otjimana Traditional Community. The community residing in Eiseb Block, which the third respondent (Hoveka) refers to is the OvaMbanderu Traditional Community. The third respondent (Hoveka) is trying to establish a traditional authority in respect of a traditional community for which a traditional authority has been established,” court papers state.
They further argued that Mushelenga’s decision could encourage more clans within the OvaMbanderu to break away and establish separate traditional authorities.
Mushelenga, who is opposing the application, indicated that having read the documents which accompanied Hoveka’s application for recognition, it is evident the Otjimana Traditional Community had in fact established a traditional authority colloquially called the Hoveka Royal House.
Hoveka, who is also opposing the application, said there is no dispute that the Hoveka Royal House comprises Ovambanderu and Otjama subjects scattered all over Namibia. However, the Ovambanderu clans have never been under a centralised leadership. “To suggest a single leadership structure within the Ovambanderu community is a misrepresentation of history and facts,” submitted Hoveka.
He furthermore indicated that Nguvauva’s application was an attempt to achieve central power over communities that did not resort under him. Judge Thomas Masuku is set to hear the matter on 26 January 2022. The parties were ordered to file their heads of argument between 10 to 15 days before the hearing date.