ONAMUNGUDO - The Council of Traditional Leaders has expressed dismay with the manner in which traditional communities handle issues relating to chieftainship succession.
Council observed that many communities have resorted to litigation in the High Court to seek recourse, which is against the customary norms.
“It has now become the tendency that we no longer respect and follow our customary norms but revert to litigation in the High Court to resolve our traditional leadership disputes. This does not restore dignity to our culture,” the council’s deputy chairperson, Chief Immanuel !Gaseb, said at the state memorial service of the late Omukwaniilwa of Ondonga, Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, held on Thursday at Onamungundo in Olukonda.
Omukwaniilwa Kauluma was chairperson of the Council of Traditional Leaders since 1997, a position he held until his death. He died on March 26, at the age of 86, in Onandjokwe hospital.
He was laid to rest at the royal family graveyard at Olukonda, Oshikoto Region on Saturday.
“Why can’t we sit at the same table and address our differences as it has been culturally done in the past?” said !Gaseb, reminiscing that Omukwaniilwa Elifas was a strategist who was able to resolve disputes concerning communal land and chieftainship, among others.
Meanwhile, there is a power struggle between two factions of the royal family concerning who will be the next omukwaniilwa of Ondonga.
Yesterday, one faction crowned Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as the new leader of the Aandonga people, a move which is highly rejected and contested by the other faction which, hours later, appointed Konisa Kalenga as new leader of the traditional community.
!Gaseb warned that if the current state of affairs continues, the Aandonga themselves should not be surprised to see headmen heading traditional authorities in the near future as they cannot even agree on a person to be designated as a chief.
He described the situation as unbearable on a daily basis.
“Perhaps even government will also be frustrated and decide to move away from the system of traditional authority administration if we are not careful on these issues,” cautioned !Gaseb, who has worked closely and served as the deputy chairperson to the late omukwaniilwa.
Consoling the family and the widow Secilia Ndapandula Elifas, !Gaseb announced that the council decided not to hold an election for a new chairperson this year.
“We must accord the family of our departed chairman enough time to mourn our leader. Therefore the election will only be conducted next year, and this will be done in cooperation with the line minister to notify of where and when will we have our annual meeting where a new leader can be elected,” said !Gaseb.
Similarly, Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa, in her tribute appealed for calm, saying such situations should not be turned into a battlefront by family members or traditional authorities.
“Rather let us respect and honour his prestige, and I pray we rise above all these petty issues,” she