Hambukushu trial date to be set next month

Some members of the Hambukushu tribe want the government to remove Chief Erwin Munika Mbambo as the head of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority.

18 August 2021 | Cultural

KENYA KAMBOWE

RUNDU

The Windhoek High Court will in September allocate a trial date for a court case where certain members of the Hambukushu tribe want to compel the government to rescind its recognition of Chief Erwin Munika Mbambo as the head of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority.

Cassius Mukennah and Angelika Thirudhi, the plaintiffs in the case, on 12 May 2020 filed the application in the High Court through their lawyer Appolos Shimakeleni.

They want the court to compel the minister of urban and rural development, Erastus Uutoni, to notify President Hage Geingob of Mbambo’s removal as chief of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority.

They are also asking that Geingob recognise by way of proclamation in the Government Gazette the removal of Mbambo’s removal as chief of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority.

The government, the Hambukushu Traditional Authority and Mbambo are the respondents in the case.

On 26 July, High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo postponed the matter to 16 September for allocation of trial dates.

The parties must file a joint status report setting out their earliest available dates for trial on or before 10 September.

Mbambo not wanted

Mukennah, who is a member of the Hambukushu royal family and the chairperson of the Fact Finding and Dismissal Committee which aims to remove Mbambo, argues that the chief is not fit to lead the Hambukushu tribe.

They also argue that Mbambo is dictatorial and failed to promote peace and welfare in the Hambukushu community.

“The third defendant (Mbambo) abandoned the second defendant’s traditional, customary and cultural practices of consultation in relation to his management of the affairs (e.g. appointment of head (wo)men, the finances) of the second defendant (the Hambukushu Traditional Authority),” the plaintiffs argue.

“The third defendant mismanages, does not manage the second defendant’s resources (monies, contributions and land) for the benefit of the second defendant’s community.”

Traditional Authorities Act

The defendants stated in their answering affidavit that the plaintiffs did not explain how the provisions of the Traditional Authorities Act were complied with.

“It is not clear how the Fact Finding and Dismissal Committee’s composition and decisions conform with the traditions and customs of the Hambukushu community as defined under Section 1 of the Act,” the defendants argue.

“The plaintiffs did not demonstrate how the committee as constituted complied with the definition of a member under Section 1 of the Act.

“The committee did not demonstrate how the matrilineal lineage of the customary law of the Hambukushu community in respect of the removal and succession of the third defendant was followed.”

Namibian Sun had previously reported that on 7 November 2018 the committee conducted a referendum in the Hambukushu district on Mbambo's chieftaincy.

It claimed that out of the 2 931 people who participated, 2 705 votes were cast against Mbambo.

The committee has accused the chief of blocking much-needed development.

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