Look for Ondonga saga answers in tradition

Had it not been that the Ondonga Royal issue has the potential to disrupt a people life, there would not have been anything to say. But this issue has taken sharp twists and sadly enough, the courts do not seem to understand how the whole saga might go the wrong way.

Without going into the politics of this issue, one would have thought that this is one of those things that do not need much debate because the answers are all there in tradition. If anyone wants to know what should be done with the ailing king and his wife who has moved in to fill the yawning gap, tradition is the first stop. Indeed, she is not the queen but the king’s wife.

The debate on social media the other day brought this light, with one person even jokingly saying that his teachers must give him back his school fees for telling him that a king’s wife is a queen. This, maybe, should be the starting point in understanding this whole issue – should the Ondonga king’s wife take the front seat on issues concerning the kingdom? Someone in the Ondonga, those elders must come out and guide the people as to what should be done now that there seems to be an impasse. The same elders must also step forward and explain what the role the king’s wife must play.

Does the Ondonga tradition dictate that the king’s wife should step in when her husband has been incapacitated? Does the Ondonga tradition have any place for the king’s wife in any way? A bit of research on the Ondonga tradition shows that the king’s wife is there to make her husband happy and comfortable. She is there to bear the king children.

In the olden days, the king’s wife would also be there to brew beer for the king. Was it not for this reason that all the Ondonga kings were supposed to be married before they ascend on the throne? Unless there have been some changes in the way things are done and should be done in the Ondonga tradition, then the best thing to do for those who see the king’s wife as an impediment is to accept what is happening. But it appears that tradition is tradition and it remains just that – tradition.

This is tradition that has stood the test of time. It is tradition that has guided the Ondonga people through difficult times when, for example, King Nembulungo lya Ngwedha was killed by his grandson, Shindongo sha Ngwedha, in 1690. This is the same tradition that guided the Ondonga people when Shipanga shAmukwiita got onto the throne by force after the death of King Nangolo dhAmutenya in 1857.

The senior councillors who were afraid that the kingdom could lead into troubled times worked with Shikoka shaKalulu to get rid of Shipanga shAmukwiita and saved the people from possible calamity. Was it not the same tradition that saw the senior councillors standing up to the colonialists in 1967 when they arrested King Nambala dha Ashikoto and sought to install Fillemon ya Shilongo? The senior councillors chose their own king – Paulus Elifas then. In all these incidents quoted above, the wives of those kings involved never had a say and are never mentioned.

They stayed home and made sure that their husbands were being nourished. It was crystal clear during all these years how tradition guided the Ondonga people. It should also be clear now how tradition should guide the people unless, of course, tradition has been amended. It is also crystal clear in all this what role the senior councillors play to guide the king and to ensure that the people’s wishes and aspirations are safeguarded against any unscrupulous leader.

The case in point is the dethronement of Shipanga shAmukwiita whom historians say was cruel and threatened the wellbeing of the kingdom. On his own, the king cannot decide or run the kingdom hence the need for senior councillors who are, according to historians, his ears and eyes since they stay with the people. Any leader would do well if they have honest advisors not pliable individuals who have vast interests in advancing their own interests.

In the past, kingdoms have suffered because of people who sought to look after their own interests instead of the interests of the majority. We speak on point of correction here – unless the Ondonga tradition has been changed and the king’s wife now has a prominent role to play, then we should be forgiven to say that as it is now, the king’s wife is going ahead of the senior councillors and the people too. The immediate danger of everything that is happening in the Ondonga kingdom could be a divided people and if this happens, the age old tradition is threatened.

Without blaming any parties in all this, one possible way of finding a solution is to look at the tradition because this is an issue about tradition. The elders must intervene and gather all the parties and then interpret this situation using tradition. One good thing with the Ondonga issue is that the answers are there in the open. People do not need to dig any deeper. Maybe we need to look at this from the viewpoint of the British, whose monarchy has been existed for hundreds of years.

They have Queen Elizabeth whose husband Prince Phillip cannot be considered for the position of the king in this life or any other life. This is the same with Kate Middleton, Prince William’s wife who can only be a duchess and not a queen. This is the same with Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles’ second wife. This is so because those who marry into royal families do not have royal blood in them. They are not the Mountbatten-Windsors.