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Uutoni takes Shambyu dispute to Supreme Court

2021-09-23  Maria Amakali

Uutoni takes Shambyu dispute to Supreme Court
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Urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni has approached the Supreme Court to appeal the High Court’s ruling that reverted the Shambyu leadership dispute to him for a decision.

Uutoni is appealing against the whole judgement in which judge Thomas Masuku said the chief’s council of the Shambyu community in Kavango East may not dictate to him or “spoon feed him the right candidate”, which he should consider for official recognition as the Shambyu traditional leader.

The court held the two candidates, Maria Haindaka and Sofia Mundjembwe Kanyetu, are both eligible not only in terms of the law but also as customs of the community dictate. 

Masuku further found the chief’s council of the Shambyu Traditional Authority acted outside its powers by refusing to complete and sign an application of Haindaka, which she needed to submit to the ministry for recognition as traditional leader of her community.

Earlier this month, the High Court set aside then minister of urban and rural development Peya Mushelenga’s November 2019 decision in which he approved Kanyetu’s application to be designated as chief of the Shambyu Traditional Authority.

Masuku referred the matter back to Uutoni to decide how to resolve the leadership dispute in the Shambyu community in terms of the Traditional Authorities Act and to designate a new traditional leader for the community.

In his appeal, Uutoni argues that Masuku erred in finding that Haindaka and Kanyetu qualified to be designated as chiefs of the Shambyu community when the proper interpretation of the law indicates only one person should be submitted to the minister for approval.

Uutoni claims Masuku disregarded expert witnesses who presented evidence of how one qualifies to be recognised as chief in terms of the Shambyu traditional community. 

In his defence, Uutoni says Mushelenga was under an obligation to approve Kanyetu’s application, as she met the necessary requirements. 

Haindaka, through his lawyer Appolos Shimakeleni, intends on opposing the appeal. 

Sakeus Akweenda is representing the minister and government. 

- mamakali@nepc.com.na


2021-09-23  Maria Amakali

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