Uukwangali waits for chief’s recognition approval

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Uukwangali waits for  chief’s recognition approval

RUNDU – Uukwangali chief councillor Julius Hamunyera Hambyuka said an application to designate and recognise Eugene Kudumo as Uukwangali chief has been submitted and only awaits feedback from the line ministry.

As such, he said the meeting held last Saturday by elders who are pushing for Severinus Siteketa to be crowned as chief, is not a threat to Kudumo’s camp.

A group of ‘elders’ of Uukwangali over the weekend held a meeting to push for the recognition of Siteketa as the next leader of Uukwangali. That meeting resolved that they would officially announce him as a candidate who could become the chief of the traditional authority on 9 December.

Siteketa’s faction – through the High Court in 2019 and a subsequent appeal of Kudumo to the Supreme Court in 2020 – emerged successful in blocking the recognition of Kudumo as the chief of Uukwangali. That took the Uukwangali chief’s succession battle back to the drawing board.

“Firstly, I listened to their discussions, and there is one aspect they are not paying attention to. They said the elders must identify the chief/hompa, but traditionally, the responsibility lies with the royal family, and they nominate the befitting candidate for the vacancy. Then, they give it to the Uukwangali elders known as Masimbi, and if they are content, they announce to the community that this is the successor.

Once they (royal family) have completed the task, the elders will then publicly inform the subjects. That has already been done in favour of Kudumo in May,” Hambyuka emphasised.

The current Uukwangali chairperson of the chiefs’ council added that looking at this issue, the said elders who are in favour of Siteketa and held their meeting on 25 November didn’t do all that.

“The High Court ordered us to go back to the drawing board, as there were some irregularities. It was not ordered that Kudumo should not be a candidate, but since then, what was done is that the royal family went to start afresh with Kudumo still being a candidate. All the royal family factions, elders from the Nasira, Kanuni as well as the Mbunze and Mangondo factions sat and gave their blessings to Kudumo, who was initially nominated by the late Hompa as his successor, and they followed his wish,” Hambyuka added.

“We already held a community meeting to inform fellow subjects of Kudumo as the preferred successor. It was attended by more than 400 community members, who also strengthened our continuation as the chiefs’ council members. Contrarily, they only had an attendance of about 100 people,’’ he said.

Hambyuka told New Era that the application form to get Kudumo recognised had been completed by the royal family about two months ago, and has gone through all the channels. Soon, they will get a response from the minister of Urban and Rural Development.

“Traditionally, the royal family used to just submit a candidate. But due to the current infighting, they had to now write their names and other details and sign, stating the candidate they picked. We have submitted all that with the application through our lawyer Sisa Namandje, who personally agreed to work on this application. He advised the royal family to use elders who are 50 years old and older, and are of royal lineage,” he continued.

“We submitted the report of the investigations into the Uukwangali chieftaincy matter, which was instituted by the line ministry, to our lawyer to study it. Every one of the royal family was interviewed, including Siteketa, who wants to be a candidate. All the compiled investigations into the matter have been summarised in that 200-page report,” he noted.

Hambyuka further stressed that the High Court and Supreme Court order did not order the chiefs’ council or headmen under Kudumo to be stripped, so they are still recognised. 

“The order was regarding the recognition of Kudumo. Some of these headmen and women have been there before Kudumo became chief. They have been doing their duties, and are still doing so,” he said.