Mushelenga under fire

The Hambukushu says they are disappointed that the minister chose to pronounce himself on the Ondonga kingship dispute, while ignoring their issues.

18 June 2019 | Local News

The committee established by members of the Hambukushu tribe, which wants Chief Erwin Munika Mbambo to relinquish his power, has accused urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga of turning a blind eye to their issues.

The committee chaired by Casius Mukenah says the minister is not dealing with dispute, which has been with his office for months.

It is accusing the chief of blocking much-needed development.

According to a letter dated 19 November 2018, Mushelenga wrote to Mukenah promising he would look into their matter and make a pronouncement in due course.

“By way of this letter I hereby acknowledge and note your letter dated 12 November pertaining to the above subject matter. My office will study the content therein and will respond to you in due course,” the letter reads.

In February Mushelenga was quoted saying the parties should wait and will hear from him.

However, the committee says it was disappointed to learn that Mushelenga recently decided to make a pronouncement on the Ondonga Traditional Authority throne dispute a few months after the death of Omukwaniilwa Immanuel Kauluma Elifas.

“This clearly shows you that the minister does not have time for the Hambukushu Traditional Authority issue,” Mukenah told Namibian Sun.

Mukenah said he even went to the extent of texting Mushelenga on the day he pronounced Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as the new king of the Ondonga, in order to remind him of the Hambukushu matter.

Mukenah said he received no response from the minister.

When contacted for comment, Mushelenga told Namibian Sun his ministry only has the power to inform the president about the removal of a chief, if the process under section 8 of Traditional Authority Act, Act 25 of 2000 is complied with.

Section 8 states that if there is sufficient reason to warrant the removal of a chief or head of a traditional community from office, the chief or head may be removed by the members of his or her traditional community, in accordance with customary law.

“First, the petition from the Hambukushu requested the minister to settle their disputes in terms of section 12(1) of the Traditional Authorities Act, No 25 of 2000,” Mushelenga said.

“Following their petition, the community has been informed in writing on 21 August 2018 by the executive director that the aforesaid provision in the Act is for chieftainship succession disputes and that removal of chiefs falls under section 8 of the Act.

“Accordingly, they were informed to follow their customary law on removal. Section 8 clearly states that the minister only comes in to notify the president of the removal - see section 8(3) - but the minister doesn't remove chiefs,” Mushelenga said.

He said the ministry did not receive a letter from the committee saying how they followed section 8 of the Traditional Authority Act to remove Chief Mbambo and its on that basis he cannot make a pronouncement.

The minister even cited the national broadcaster's footage of a meeting held on 10 December 2018 in which some Hambukushu community members rejected the removal of the chief.

“Further, what we know is that there was a meeting reported on NBC TV news, with visuals of the community, which rejected the removal of the chief.”

Mukenah says it is impossible that Mushelenga did not receive their letter, as he had responded on 19 November 2018.

“If we did not inform the ministry on how we followed section 8, to what letter did he respond to on 19 November 2018? What document was he studying? Where is the response he promised?” Mukenah asked.

Mukenah explained that on 7 November 2018 the committee conducted a referendum in the Hambukushu district, where out of 2 931 people who participated, 2 705 cast their votes against Mbambo. He said a day later he informed the ministry, Mbambo and Kavango regional governor Samuel Mbambo what had transpired and which procedures were followed.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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