• August 8th, 2020

Traditional authorities becoming too political

I have learned with dismay and shock the ongoing intervention of traditional authorities in political parties’ internal affairs. Traditional leaders have turned political leaders, their statements at public gatherings are not cultural or traditional related anymore, but too political. 

Some traditional authorities behave more like opposition parties while they are supposed to mobilise their community as directed by the Traditional Authorities Act. 

Nowadays traditional authorities administer their affairs like political parties, to certain extent they intervene, influence and negatively instigate party political parties’ members. They have created tensions and daylight favouritism and utter nepotism among parties. 

One thing that we need to keep in our minds is that political parties can’t be glued neither affiliate to a single traditional authority. Traditional authorities must distance themselves from causing divisions and disarray amongst political parties.  They must run in their lane and focus on their area of jurisdiction.  

They have many issues to attend to, such as advising the president on land matters and natural resources as per the provisions of the Traditional Authorities Act of 2000. 

Some traditional authorities even fail to organise a single cultural festival to educate their members but they want to claim to represent all community members at the national level. 

Schools in the area of jurisdiction where the children of their subjects are attending classes, are dilapidated and need maintenance and renovation but the traditional authorities have opted to compete and struggle for politics space with political parties and the government. 

Traditional authorities can’t keep political leaders and government office-bearers hostage for taking decisions that they think have defied their orders. There is an abuse of power by traditional authorities, behaving as if they have participated in any national election and have delegated its members into various political and government structures. 

Yes, one agrees that they form part of civil society but once they are recognised by an act of parliament as a traditional authority they are part and parcel of the government from central level, regional and local government.

We ought to draw clear boundaries between these discrete institutions or organisations. Some traditional leaders bail out political parties in exchange for political and traditional favours and if those personal promises are not fulfilled they take the entire community and use it to fight his or her empty promises by the receiver of the bailout. 

Political leaders by virtue of the Namibian constitution have the rights to belong to TAs of their choice, attend any gatherings that they feel they can attend and address the audience if protocol allows without any intimidation and harassment, as long as the subjects benefit. Gone are the days when the traditional leaders were untouchable and their words were our command. Now we have freedom of choice, freedom of association and freedom of speech and expression. We will not stand aside and look while our communities are being denied their rights to be heard, rights to be represented while the procession of government continues to propel but the citizens are denied their rights by traditional leaders who have intentions to have separate government or an alternative administration.

M. Kavari
University of Namibia

New Era Reporter
2018-10-26 09:20:10 | 1 years ago

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