'They want to oust me'
The Mbunza Traditional Authority chief in Kavango West has fired three village headmen and a headman's assistant, saying they were plotting against him.
08 September 2020 | Cultural
Mbunza Traditional Authority chief Alfons Kaundu says the reason why he dismissed three village headmen and an advisor in July was because they are part of a group that wants to oust him.
Kaundu has been the chief of the Mbunza community since 2001.
In an interview at Kapako village in the Kavango West Region, Kaundu spoke about his decision to relieve three village headmen and a headman's assistant of their duties. The dismissed village headmen are Sinkeva Markus of Ncara village, Mbanze Goddius of Dudu village and Engelmar Kanyanga of Sauyemwa.
Kanyanga was dismissed together with his advisor, Mulutu Ihemba.
“It was not my decision to remove them but that of the people. I cannot impose leaders on people who are not wanted by the community they represent,” Kaundu explained.
Kaundu said the three were plotting with senior headman Lawrence Haupindi to overthrow him as leader of the Mbunza people.
Kaundu said he had a fallout with Haupindi over a farm and since then their relationship soured to the extent that they have not communicated with each other for five years.
Kaundu claimed that Kanyanga had refused to pay a fine of N$4 000 to the traditional authority.
“He was told to pay up or lose risking his title as headman and he opted not to pay,” Kaundu said.
He alleged that the plot against him was because the group did not want him to allocate land to Oshiwambo-speaking people from neighbouring regions.
“They don't want land to be allocated to Oshiwambo-speaking persons. They say the land is theirs but I as a patriotic Namibian will give land to whoever applies for it procedurally,” Kaundu said.
Kaundu said he was consulting his lawyers to order the disgruntled group to stop with their activities.
“I have already engaged my lawyers and I will take them to court if they don't stop,” Kaundu said.
The four dismissed men are demanding to know why they were fired.
They claim they were not informed of any misconduct and were not given a chance to state their case.
Their letters of dismissal are dated 15 July. They are also unhappy with the fact that their dismissal was announced on the radio. “The chief was supposed to call us to his palace and inform us of his decision,” they said.
Kaundu said if they had further questions, they should go and see him at his palace.
The dismissed leaders want Kaundu to pay them for their services as headmen.
“Our relationship with Hompa Kaundu has been affected therefore we seek no recourse of returning to work for him but we would be happy if he could compensate us for the work we did. We were never compensated for our work, therefore if this is how he wants us to end our relationship, he must pay us,” they said.
Kaundu responded that only gazetted headmen are compensated, therefore their claim holds no water.
Haupindi made no mention of the alleged plot to overthrow Kaundu but alleged that Kaundu does not apply the customary law of the Mbunza Traditional Authority.
“Kaundu is not fit to serve the people of the Mbunza Traditional Authority because he does not listen to others,” Haupindi said.