Hai //Om traditional authority under siege
18 May 2021 | Cultural
Members of the Hai //Om community staged a peaceful demonstration at Outjo yesterday where they demanded the removal of the traditional authority, especially Chief David Khamuxab, who has been recognised as chief since July 2004.
Protesters from five regions marched to the constituency councillor's office displaying posters stating ‘17 years of corruption, nepotism’ and ‘Shut down the Hai //Om office’.
In the petition read by group spokesperson Leon Aib, Hai //Om chief David Khamuxab was accused of not being transparent and not having followed due process in his nomination and election. It was further stated that the traditional authority is constituted of only the chief's relatives.
The petition further claimed that the chief "does not promote peace and welfare among the community."
Chief Khamuxab denied appointing his relatives as traditional authority members. "It is not true," he said, stating that he is not related to everyone on the traditional authority and that those leading the demonstration are also part of his family.
The traditional authority stated that they are dealing with traditional affairs and not politics.
"Their movement is totally political," they said about the demonstration, which they claimed was bringing disunity among the people.
They explained that the procedures for constituting a traditional authority are different from political procedures.
The traditional authority stressed that they are governed by customary law which gives a royal house the mandate to deal with leadership affairs.
This is contrary to the petition, which states that the leaders have failed to draw up said customary laws.
The protesters alleged that the chief has misused resources earmarked for the upliftment of the community and that no audit reports are given to the community.
The chief disputed these claims. He stated that there is a board and a committee entrusted to deal with the finances of the community and that the funds are divided according to resolutions set by the traditional authority.
The protesters also questioned the purchase of vehicles through the Hai //Om community trust fund. Chief Khamuxab confirmed the purchase of seven vehicles but said that these were for traditional authority use.
The petition was received by Helmut Fillemon, control administration officer at the Outjo constituency office, who promised that it would reach the relevant authorities. The petition is addressed to the minister of urban and rural development.