I remain chief of Vakwangali – Kudumo

09 December 2020 | Cultural

KENYA KAMBOWE

KAHENGE



Eugene Siwombe Kudumo says he remains the chief of the Vakwangali tribe despite a Supreme Court ruling to the contrary.

Kudumo labels those who are trying to remove him from the position he has held since 2015 as 'criminals' and 'foreigners'. Kudumo made these remarks during a no-holds-barred interview with Namibian Sun this week where he explained why he remains the chief of the Vakwangali community despite court rulings which found that the government made a mistake in recognising him.

High Court Judge Harald Geier ruled in March 2019 that Kudumo's designation as chief of the traditional authority by then minister of urban and rural development Sophia Shaningwa on 15 February 2017 be set aside. Geier declared his designation “invalid and of no force or effect”.

Kudumo then appealed to the Supreme Court, which dismissed his application last month. With the Supreme Court having ruled against Kudumo, the group that originally took the matter to court plans to designate a new chief for the Vakwangali tribe by February. The group held a meeting last weekend at the Uukwangali Traditional Authority, where a committee chaired by Andreas Kamukwanyama was formed. Other members of the committee are Amandus Kavera, Jakkob Musisi, Pius Kandjimi, Frans Nambase and Ndara Leevi.

They also passed a resolution that the traditional court put all its proceedings on hold until a new leader is inaugurated.



Still the chief

According to Kudumo, the committee is not legally recognised and its decisions are illegal.

As for the Supreme Court ruling, Kudumo placed the blame on Shaningwa for having used the term “designate”. According to him, chiefs are not designated by the government but only recognised in accordance with the Traditional Authorities Act.





“The government only recognises you as a hompa and what the government nullified is the then minister who just made a mistake by saying designate when she was supposed just to approve,” Kudumo claims.

“So customary we followed the right procedure. I am still the hompa, we only look for recognition from government. “So this group, they customary don't have the right to grab the key for the office. We must distinguish between chieftainship and traditional authority. If you are going to grab the key you are just going to start a coup. We will not allow them to do as they please. I have thousands of supporters while they are just nine to 100. I remain the hompa of the Vakwangali,” he said.



Why now

The chieftaincy wrangle follows the death of Kudumo's grandfather, Chief Sitentu Daniel Mpasi, in 2014.

Despite Mpasi having chosen Kudumo as his heir and even announcing his selection in public, a group led by the late Rudolf Ngondo and Severinus Siteketa refused to accept Kudumo as chief of the Vakwangali traditional community, saying he had not been appointed procedurally. Kudumo questioned why the group only opposed his chieftainship after the death of Mpasi.

“Since 2008 he (the late Mpasi) showed me to different people and there was no objection. So customary that is the procedure. If they had any objection then why did they not register it then?” Kudumo said.

On the way forward, Kudumo said he would again apply for government recognition.

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