Ongandjera leadership transition exemplary
Following the recent death of King Jafet Munkundi, the traditional leadership of Ongandjera has swiftly appointed and confirmed his replacement – Johannes Mupiya – without quarrels.
This is very rare in a country rocked by a string of traditional leadership disputes. In fact, the change of guard in Ongandjera came less than a week after a faction in Vaalgras in the south nominated candidates one of which is to replace Chief Joel Stephanus, whom this faction wants to topple.
Ongandjera’s neighbours – Aambaanhu – have also been fighting for the throne. The matter even went to court as varying factions fail to find common ground on who should step into the big shoes of their ancient king, Kamhaku kaHuhwa.
At Gibeon, the /Khowese people, over whom former Swapo Vice-President Hendrick Witbooi was the chief, are still fighting to fill the position left vacant by his death in 2009.
It is difficult these days for a traditional leader to die in Namibia and his or her position is filled without a fight between this or that group.
The biggest of all at the moment is arguably that of the Ovambanderu. Chief Munjuku Nguvauva’s death in January 2008 actually divided his subjects more that it has united them.
Those fighting for his replacement were initially his sons, but after the untimely death of one, the remaining son is now fighting for the throne with his step-mother, the late chief’s wife.
Of course all communities that are without traditional leaders because of schoolboy disputes are the ones suffering. In times when they need leadership and direction towards the future, they are made to look on as the big elephants tussle for chieftaincies.
Look at the Ovambunza in the Kavango Region. A section in that community has been campaigning to overthrow their chief, Alfons Kaundu, whom they say is not from a royal blood.
Instead of paying attention to more pressing issues of national concern, Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Jerry Ekandjo is made to run from one corner of the country to another in his bid to diffuse traditional leadership confrontations.
These squabbles seem to have reached new heights since the day Government started giving recognised traditional leaders monthly monetary rewards and vehicles.
Such allowances were, in our view, not a bad idea given the important role the traditional leaders play in their communities – but they have triggered negatives too.