ONAMUNGUNDO – Members of factions that have been on each other’s throats over who to succeed Omukwaniilwa of Ondonga Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, yesterday united to ensure a dignified send-off of the late traditional leader.
Omukwaniilwa Kauluma was pronounced dead early yesterday morning in the Onandjokwe hospital. He was 86.
The opposing factions are now melted into different preparatory committees to ensure the success of the period leading to their leader’s burial.
Vilho Kamanya, one of the senior headmen of Ondonga Traditional Authority who were relieved off their duties by the late Kauluma, was chosen yesterday as the overall head of committees.
Naeman Amalwa, who sided with the late leader at the height of the factions’ war of succession, was appointed as spokesperson of all committees.
He said the death of the veteran leader of Ondonga has unified the two factions and everyone is doing their utmost best to ensure that their leader’s final moments are honoured in peace and dignity.
Amalwa said it is a traditional norm that community members render voluntary services to the palace when events of this nature occur.
“The community is expected to show or to honour their king by gathering to mourn, offering free services and labour that is fit for Omukwaniilwa,” said Amalwa.
He further added that some community members have already started with pledges in forms of cattle, drinks and foodstuff towards the bereaved family the period of mourning.
Although traditionally certain rituals are practiced once a leader of this status passes away, Amalwa said most of such practices are abolished and Omukwaniilwa Kauluma will be mourned in a Christian way.
The only obvious ritual carried out at the Palace was the alterations of some of the entrances to the house, a common custom among Aawambo cultures when any person passes away.
“Omukwaniilwa has reigned for over 40 years, and he has been a Christian. There will be no rituals but he will be honoured with hymns and prayers,” said Amalwa.
By yesterday afternoon, hundreds of people have flocked to the Palace at Onamungundo village on the outskirt of Ondangwa.
Those close to the royal family and traditional authorities were divided into mini groups of different committees while ordinary members of Ondonga tribal authority and other mourners gathered at one place where they sang different songs from the Lutheran hymn book.
Those that assembled at the Palace include headmen from different levels of the Ondonga traditional leadership, while other traditional leaders, including Chief Herman Iipumbu of Uukwambi Traditional Authority as well as religions, government and political leaders were also in attendance.
While in this part of the country – and indeed most of Namibia - mourn through crying, it was different at the Palace yesterday where mourners celebrated instead, as is custom when Omukwaniilwa dies.
The succession within Ondonga royal house is carried out soon after the death of the reigning head has been announced. For example, the deceased, Omukwaniilwa Kauluma, was crowned immediately after the death of his brother Fillemon yaElifas lyaShindondola, who was killed in 1975.
With the Ondonga succession battle still unsettled, it is not likely any successor would be announced soon.
Amalwa and other elders have refused to comment on anything related to succession.
In 2002, Kauluma named his nephew Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as his successor but this nomination was later disputed by the royal family.
This led to irreconcilable differences, which saw Kauluma getting rid of some of his long-serving top aides.
Those who were dismissed include the late Peter Kauluma, Joseph Asino, John Walenga, Vilho Kamanya, Kashona kaMalulu, Tonata Ngulu and Fillemon Nambili.
The councillors turned to the courts and an order was granted in the Oshakati High Court compelling the then fragile Omukwaniilwa Kauluma to give oral testimony on who his successor would be.
At the time, Kauluma’s legal team argued that the application to have him testify was an attempt to test his mental capabilities in an open court.
Several leaders including Head of State Hage Geingob and former president Sam Nujoma also tried to intervene in the impasse.
President Geingob yesterday described Kauluma as a lost key figure, a man of gravity and a great unifier who dedicated his entire life to serving others.
“Omukwaniilwa Kauluma, a leader I have known for decades, has been a fatherly figure, a friend, a sage, and a man of dignity. He did not only care about those who fell under his traditional authority, but treated everyone with affection and compassion,” said Geingob.
The late Kauluma is survived by his wife Sesilia and 11 children.
Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president McHenry Venaani also paid his tribute to the late leader.
Venaani described Kauluma as the “symbol of Namibia’s greatness” as he joins the group of particularly respected Namibians who struggled and triumphed amid immense challenges.
2019-03-27 08:54:07 25 days ago