Preserve Omukwaniilwa's legacy of peace

28 March 2019 | Opinion

Since Tuesday morning, tributes have been pouring in from all corners of the country in honour of Omukwaniilwa Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, the revered and respected leader of Ondonga for the last 44 years, who passed on this week at the age of 86. Elifas has been described by many as a great unifier, who not only showed outstanding commitment to his community, but also Namibia at large.

He was without doubt a source of inspiration and a beacon of hope. In the words of President Hage Geingob, Omukwaniilwa did not only care about those who fell under his traditional authority, but treated everyone with affection and compassion. As leader of the Ondonga kingdom, King Elifas will forever be remembered for promoting peace, humility and forgiveness not forgetting his unwavering commitment to justice and dignity for all.

Disappointingly, it is really sad to note that his fine legacy is now under threat given the infighting among the traditional leaders, which has led to factions and disunity. The infighting has been linked to the succession battle. This followed after a group of senior leaders were reportedly purged by a rival grouping of individuals close to the royal family and who apparently took advantage of Elifas' poor health to wield the axe. The fired councillors are still backing Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo, who was nominated by the Ondonga king as his heir in September 2002, to take over from Elifas one day. The widely publicised and embarrassing shenanigans within the Ondonga Traditional Authority led to unnecessary confusion and irreconcilable differences not only among the leadership, but also the subjects, and the community at large. The promotion of division by self-centred leaders within Ondonga undermines the rich legacy of peace and compassion, which the departed king so well lived by. The warring factions of Ondonga must immediately bury the hatchet not only for the sake of peace and progress towards a better life for all, but also to preserve the indomitable legacy of Omukwaniilwa Elifas. May his soul rest in perfect peace.