Infighting hinders progress

22 August 2019 | Columns

Our traditional leaders, with all due respect, have been hogging the headlines for some time now, and mostly for the wrong reasons.

Unnecessary infighting among traditional leaders has become the norm, leading to needless tension within communities. It is indeed sad to see our traditional authorities, which are expected to be true beacons of wisdom, hope and inspiration to their subjects, engaged in repeated fights, especially when dealing with succession battles. The same leaders who are supposed to be at the forefront of resolving disagreements within their areas of jurisdiction are now turning on each other, amid bitter struggles for power. This is unsustainable and we agree with President Hage Geingob’s assessment during the Council of Traditional Leaders annual gathering this week, where he aired his dissatisfaction about the manner in which some traditional authorities are going about their business. “It is therefore worrisome for me to continue to witness instances of factionalism and ongoing leadership succession disputes between communities and their leaders,” Geingob was quoted as saying. He couldn't have said it any better. As custodians of culture and tradition, there is a massive weight of expectation on traditional leaders to focus on promoting sustainable rural development, including speedily resolving longstanding leadership disputes and factional fights. We expect our traditional seniors to be at the forefront of robust public discourse, in terms of the moral decay that is bedevilling our society. It also requires the wisdom of our traditional leaders to help combat other evils, such as rural poverty, disease, high crime levels and other challenges facing our communities. Lastly, traditional leaders must channel their energies into advising on matters relevant to tradition, including promoting a fair, efficient and effective land allocation system, in the best interest of their respective communities, and those they have sworn to serve. This is of paramount importance to those who fall under their jurisdiction and who yearn for a better life, amid the unfolding challenges and struggles of life.

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