GIBEON - “As a Chief, recognised under the Traditional Authorities Act, 25 of 2000, you will be required to be the custodian of the Customary Law of the Witbooi traditional community,” said Peya Mushelenga, the minister at the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.
He said this in a speech read out on his behalf by deputy minister Derek Klazen at the coronation of Hendrik Ismael Witbooi, new Chief of the /Khowese clan which took place at Gibeon over the weekend.
The minister further explained that he will now notify President Hage Geingob about the new chief’s approved designation for the purposes of recognition of such by the Head of State.
“You and your team of senior and traditional councillors must work together to ensure that your customary law provides certainty, especially in respect of leadership succession and by doing so avoiding squabbles, costly and divisive disputes over succession in the future,” Mushelenga emphasized.
Explaining the duties and functions of the new chief and his councillors, the line minister mentioned the maintenance of peace, order and harmony within their community as of paramount importance. He continued by stating that they “are required to promote, uphold, protect and preserve the culture, language, tradition and traditional values of their traditional community.” In addition, it will be required from them to assist and cooperate with the government, regional-and- local authority councils in the execution of projects, policies and programmes in order to keep their community informed about it in their areas.
Another responsibility spelled out by Mushelenga was that the chief should assist the police and other law enforcement agencies in the prevention of crime in his area. “As the supreme traditional leader of your community, you have the responsibility to exercise your powers and to perform your duties and functions in a just and inclusive manner,” he informed the chief. The minister then explained to Chief Witbooi that as a traditional leader, it will be expected from him to advise the President on the control and utilization of communal land amongst others.
“Regrettably, leadership changes within the traditional authorities in Namibia have not been without controversy,” said Mushelenga. He elaborated that it happened many a times that fractions within traditional communities got themselves involved in fierce battles for the position of traditional leader. The minister added that the negative impact caused by this is the waste of much needed resources and negligence of traditional authority affairs.
The line minister further emphasized that, in view of the President declaring 2019 as the year of accountability, Traditional authorities will subsequently be held accountable by both the government and their specific traditional community members. Mushelenga then called on them to cooperate with and render their full support to Chief-designate Hendrik Ismael Witbooi. “Assist him in the daunting task of bringing about peace, unity and reconciliation within his leadership and in the Witbooi traditional community,” he appealed.
As part of his speech, Mushelenga extended his heartfelt congratulations to the chief on his (Witbooi’s) designation as ninth Captain of the /Khowese Clan. “You now have a responsibility to lead your people through unity of purpose,” the minister concluded.
New Era Reporter
2019-07-09 09:19:04 13 days ago