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Opinion - Seeking solution for long-lasting Topnaar succession issue

2022-09-12  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Seeking solution for long-lasting Topnaar succession issue

Gaob Samuel Khaxab


We first and foremost want to thank your esteemed newspaper for receiving our urgent and assistance seeking letter. 

Secondly, we want to mention that after numerous unsuccessful attempts of trying to engage relevant stakeholders, including the government and the traditional chiefs’ council, we decided to write to your office. 

Perhaps by involving the media our cries, our sorrows and disappointments might be heard by others. 

We want to start from the period since the death of the late Chief Seth Kooitjie in 2019. 

Chief Kooitjie was never the rightful heir to the throne of the #Aonin (Topnaar) clan, he was appointed by his father who was also only acting. 

Working together with the then apartheid government under the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) Esau Kooitjie manipulated the customary process and handed his son the reins. 

In actual fact, Esau Kooitjie was supposed to return the throne to the Topnaar royal house, but instead, his son was coronated in 1989. 

The coronation took place on the verge of Namibia’s independence and again Esau Kooitjie with his tactics managed to convince the Swapo government about the legitimacy of the “ill-gotten”

This has resulted in Chief Seth Kooitjie being gazetted as Chief of the Topnaars in 1998. The rightful heir to the throne Gaob Samuel Khaxab has been fighting since 1989 for recognition, with no success.

 Gaob Samuel Khaxab over the decades engaged the Office of the President, the ombudsman’s office, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the traditional leaders’ council as well as the office of the late King Kauluma Elifas since he was the chairperson of the traditional leaders’ council. (we have documentary and photo proof). 

The whole problem which for many years continued to exist and keep the Topnaar clan in abject poverty and deplorable living conditions has been created by a chief who was an active member of the apartheid DTA regime, who suddenly at the brink of Namibia’s independence became a Swapo member (we again have documentary proof). 

To make matters worse, the current traditional authorities' council deputy chairperson Chief Immanuel /Gâseb has been and continues to interfere in our customary matters, even telling the rightful heir that he will only support and cooperate with the Seth Kooitjie group. 

As the Gaob of the #Aonin clan, I consider the inhumane social and economic conditions my people are living in as a crime against humanity, perpetrated by a group of individuals who over the decades have been enriching themselves at my people’s expense. 

Fishing quotas and various concessions, including minerals and wildlife, are amongst the benefits that only the late Chief Seth Kooitjie and his team are privy to. 

In The Namibian newspaper of 25 November 2016, chief /Gâseb together with chief Kooitjie publicly stated at Koherab in the Hardap region that no Nama tribe should ever again elect a leader and that only surviving elders in the royal house should decide. 

The exact was supposed to be done more than 30 years ago, but both the pre and post- independent governments have been ignoring the plight of a community whose reins date back as early as

We want an audience with the government, in particular the line ministry, interested parties, the Topnaar community, historians, the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA), the traditional councils’ authority and all other role-players and stakeholders so that this leadership issue can receive the attention it deserves. 

2022-09-12  Staff Reporter

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