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Ugly Fights Before Rukoro’s Tombstone Unveiling An Insult

By: Kelvin Chiringa

Chief Vipuira Kapuuo’s spokesperson, Wilson Katjita, says that it is an insult that fierce power struggles continue to rock the Herero nation even before the late Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro’s tombstone has been unveiled.

He said this at the back of the suspension of chief Kapuuo, the OvaHerero Traditional Authority’s (OTA) Chiefs Council chairperson, over the weekend as chairperson of the chiefs’ council by Professor Mutjinde Katjiua’s faction.

The suspension is an escalation of the fight between the two in the battle to occupy the acting paramount chieftaincy. This, even though Kapuuo won the High Court case where the legitimacy of Katjiua in that position was watered down.

Speaking to The Villager this week, Katjita expressed his displeasure at how the Herero nation descended into divisive succession politics even from the day before Rukoro was buried.

“It’s an absolute insult, to say the least. These things have been forthcoming since the day he passed away. That’s when we got transitional committees and all these things. People were already fighting for his throne while he was not even buried.

“The (Herero) nation is polarised. As a tribe, we are divided. Under the chairperson of the OTA, we aim to unite all the OvaHerero and pave the way forward. According to our customs, a person’s funeral is only completed when the tombstone has been unveiled, and that is what happened even with Dr Kuaima Riruako,” said Katjita.

The Kapuuo leadership had a chiefs’ council meeting on the 12 April in Okandjira, where, according to Katjita, it was clearly stipulated that all discussion of succession must be buried at the moment until the unveiling of Rukoro’s tombstone.

Chief Kapuuo has, in the meantime, brushed off his suspension.

Katjita said the chiefs’ council convened to suspend him was not called for by the chairperson, Kapuuo himself, while the courts have pronounced that Katjiua lacks locus standi.

“When you invoke Section 9 of the Act, if you say the paramount chief is the chairperson of the chiefs’ council, that person must have been designated in terms of the Act according to Section 3 and recognized and gazetted to assume the position of chairman.

“And the issue of chief Kapuuo being suspended; he was not appointed by the chiefs’ council. He was appointed by the chief. Suppose you go to Section 10 (a) of the same Act. In that case, it clearly exhibits that the chairperson, who is the chief who is gazetted, may appoint one or two persons from his senior traditional council to assist him in his day to day activities of the traditional authority. So, this is already a nonstarter,” he explained.

Katjita has rubbished the Katjiua leadership as just another break-away group.

On Monday morning, the OTA handed over a petition to the urban and rural development ministry, asking it not to interfere with OTA matters.

Okamatapati chief, Ruben Rukambe Uazukuani, said the government should not have a say on who they choose as their traditional leader.

“We had this same oppression with the South African government. We had the same issue with Germany. Now we still have the same oppression by our own Namibian government,” said Uazukuani.

He also said the Ovaherero people chose prof Mutjinde Katjiua to be their leader.

The petition was received by deputy urban and rural development minister Natalia Goagoses.





Kelvin Chiringa

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