WINDHOEK – Describing the infighting and instances of leadership succession disputes that continue to prevail among traditional authorities as disheartening, President Hage Geingob cautioned traditional leaders against taking succession disputes into the arena of modern day courts, saying it erodes the traditional values and norms of society.
Speaking at the opening of the 21st Annual Meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders here yesterday, Geingob said traditional leaders are sources of valuable wisdom, and most notably, they play a crucial role in providing a sense of continuity and stability in an era of change.
Unfortunately, he said, the integrity of traditional authorities has come under threat, due to the infighting and instances of leadership succession disputes.
“It is particularly disheartening when one looks at these incidences in the context of our new narrative of nation-building, which posits the importance of unity, holding hands and pulling together in the same direction in a spirit of Harambee,” he said.
Geingob said in no way do these incidences of infighting contribute towards the promotion and preservation of unity and the interest of community.
He said government resources should be allocated towards infrastructure development, education, health and uplifting the poor and needy.
Unfortunately, the president said, some of these resources are now used for the purposes of resolving these “needless disputes”.
He said every society has a set of values covering various aspects of human endeavour.
“Issues of chieftainship succession in Africa should focus on maintaining the values and traditions of society in the interests of the wider community,” he stressed.
Geingob said foregoing the traditional formula and taking these disputes into the arena of modern day courts erodes the traditional values and norms in society.
“I believe that these matters should be deliberated on, at this conference to ensure that traditional authorities maintain their social stature,” he said.
“Let us not demean the stature of our Chiefs, Kapteins, Hompas, Gaobs, Ombara and Omukwaniilwas, by forcing them to become embroiled in farcical disputes concerning succession,” he added.
Geingob used the opportunity to thank both groups involved in the Ondonga Traditional Authority dispute saying that prior to his departure to Indonesia and China, he had the opportunity to meet both camps.
“Now that I have returned, I look forward to continuing these discussions in the interests of seeking an amicable solution to the current impasse,” he said.
Furthermore, Geingob reminded traditional leaders that he has called and sanctioned the hosting of the second national land conference in October this year, for which preparations have commenced.
He said the land conference will discuss a number of important and difficult issues, including ancestral land, communal land, urban land, rural land and settlement projects.
“It is my belief that the outcome of the conference will enable us, as a nation, to take concrete steps towards solving the land question,” he said.
He called on traditional authorities to join the rest of the country in ensuring that deliberations will take place in a spirit of unity of purpose and a common agenda.
“As government, we view the Council of Traditional Leaders as an indispensable partner in our second phase of the struggle,” he said.
“Our traditional leaders are wise and steadfast allies, with whom we aim to work towards guaranteeing a better life for all Namibians,” he added.
In other words, he said, the government views traditional leaders as cornerstones of the house they call Namibia.
“In our societies, elders have always been a source of stability. As the bedrocks of a united and peaceful society, they have commanded society’s honour and reverence,” he said.
2018-09-11 09:10:09 9 months ago