Tjihuiko fined cattle for 'lies'

Squabbles related to the appointment of Nudo president Ester Muinjangue as health deputy minister have led to punitive fines against perceived proponents within the Ovaherero traditional community.

19 May 2020 | Local News



The Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) Chiefs Council has slapped former Member of Parliament Arnold Tjihuiko with a sentence to pay N$12 000 worth of a cow for alleged lies against the traditional leadership, and a heifer for offending his “circumcision peers” with his alleged gossiping.

Also, OTA former spokesperson Bob Kandetu, branded a “gossip-monger”, got off with a mere apology during a council meeting at Aminius over the weekend.

Deputy health minister Ester Muinjangue, whose appointment to that position mothered the infighting for which the two men were charged, was also hauled before the council.

She was found guilty of having “acted wrongly by keeping Ombara Otjitambi [Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro] and his leadership in the dark about her involvement in the machination to join government and thereby compromising the struggle for genocide reparations”, a statement said yesterday.

Kangaroo court

Tjihuiko yesterday dismissed the meeting as nothing but a kangaroo court.

According to him, the Chiefs Council had no business dragging him before court, and went to Aminius with a pre-meditated agenda – to discipline him.

“I listened to the whole thing. Threats were made, but which council laws did I violate? What authority did the Chiefs Council have to prosecute?

“It was supposed to be a meeting and I realised that it was turned into a kangaroo court. So why should I bother to point this out to them?

“These people are lawyers and professors, they should have known better,” an irate Tjihuiko said.

WhatsApp brawl

The traditional authority also agreed that the decision to strip deputy health minister Ester Muinjangue of her position as chairperson of the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation (OGF) was “correct and timely”.

The OTA recalled Muinjangue based on a claim that her new position exposes her to an “incurable” conflict of interest.

These developments follow a highly-charged WhatsApp conversation where debates raged about the appointment of Muinjangue as the country's deputy minister of health by President Hage Geingob.

Tjihuiko also accused Rukoro of double standards, claiming he was lobbying for Geingob ahead of the 2017 Swapo congress and donated N$100 000 to Geingob's campaign.

The traditional authority last week confirmed the payment, but dismissed claims it was a bit for Rukoro to secure the position of prime minister.

Guilty on all counts

In its statement issued yesterday, the OTA stated that Tjihuiko was found guilty on all counts brought against him and he must retract his unfounded statement that Rukoro had planned to remove him and Kandetu from the OTA executive committee.

“His allegations of impropriety levelled against Ombara Otjitambi were proved as complete lies, distortions, fabrications and outright defamatory character assassination.”

Meanwhile, Kandetu was found guilty of conniving behind Rukoro's back with top government officials and Muinjangue, which led to the latter taking up the position of deputy health minister.

OTA spokesperson Professor Mutjinde Katjiua confirmed that all three were present at the disciplinary meeting.

Kandetu and Muinjangue were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

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