The souring Ondonga fracas

09 April 2019 | Columns

There is no end in sight to the bitter infighting engulfing the Ondonga Traditional Authority, even though there have been renewed calls for the warring factions to bury the hatchet in honour of the late Omukwaniilwa Immanuel Kauluma Elifas.

As argued on this same platform a fortnight ago, it is puzzling to see government having adopted a wait-and-see approach, despite the massive impact the standoff has had on the community and the nation at large. The government fully recognises the Ondonga Traditional Authority and as a custodian of traditional authority affairs in the country, the ministry of urban and rural development should have investigated the matter to get to the bottom of the ruckus. Now, just days before the state funeral of the late Omukwaniilwa, the belligerent groupings are at it again, with an urgent court application being lodged this week. In the latest challenge, two heirs apparent to the throne, Oscar Sheehama and Konisa Eino Kalenga, want to interdict Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo from acting as if he is the appointed successor to the late king. The duo want to restrain Nangolo, who was named as Elifas’ successor in 2002, from purporting in any way to be the heir apparent. There is no doubt that the infighting among Ondonga leaders is being driven by personal interests and it is a sad development and betrayal of the legacy of the late Omukwaniilwa, who stood for peace. The succession battle has now clearly spiralled out of control and this leadership wrangle is set to intensify after the burial of the late king this weekend. It is clear that there is no love lost between the warring factions and the standoff cannot be considered as a friendly rivalry. Government must therefore step in and protect the interests of the Ondonga community, and that of the nation at large, by mediating between the conflicting groups and finding a lasting solution to this impasse. The situation cannot be allowed to sour any further.