Kunene Governor Maruis Sheya says his office received 75 new applications from those claiming to be tribal chiefs and seeking recognition as traditional leaders.
Various traditional authorities in the region are busy with internal squabbles and unending litigations which left scores of authorities with either more than one chief fighting for recognition.
Sheya during one of his town hall meetings at Opuwo stated that his office will not process these applications until traditional authorities resolve their internal affairs.
“I received 75 new applications from traditional chiefs seeking government recognition. I must say that I will not process them until chiefs settle their differences. Some of these applications are from two chiefs from one traditional authority. What is that?Let us resolve our issues first,” he said.
More than 80% of the traditional authorities in the region are said to be still battling for power for the past 11 years, thus leaving them without a recognised chief.
Among those authorities still embroiled in infightings are the Vita Thom Royal House, Otjikaoko Traditional Authority and the Ombuku Traditional Authority.
Sheya is currently chairing the Governor’s Town Hall Meetings in all seven constituencies of the region.
He said the meetings are intended for entrepreneurs, youth, farmers, business people and community members to interact with different ministries with the view to bring government services closer to the people and to find ways to revive the regional economy, including the discussion of projects and all activities that were put on hold due to Covid-19 and drought.
During the regional engagements, there will be health outreach, issuance of national documents, visiting and assessing schools, economic and community projects, as well as exchanging views on the challenges, opportunities and expectations of communities.
Among other issues discussed during the at the Governor’s Town Hall Meetings is the veterinary cordon fence, also known as the Red Line, a pest-exclusion fence separating northern Namibia from the central and southern country parts.
The farmers also questioned why ‘Kaokoland’ is still considered a risk area as far as animal health is concerned, even if for the past 60 years, there has not been any cases of food and mouth diseases or lung infections in the region.
They further bemoaned the lack of official auctions and the absence of abattoirs in the region.
According to Sheya, there is still a faction which is against the idea of upgrading the Opuwo-Okangwati-Epupa road to bitumen.
The road hadoften been destroyed by heavy floods, claiming lives and cutting off communities from much-needed services during rainy seasons.
Sheya called on the residents to set aside their differences and to have an appreciation of the benefit such a project will bring to the community.
Despite the government’s commitment to service delivery and community advancement, some community members in the Okangwati areas are against the road upgrade, stating that they are not privy to such an arrangement, thus permissions should be sought from them first.
Some of the comminity members also argued that the contractors together with the government have a hidden agenda and that the road, if upgraded,is not intended to reach Epupa, but will run from Opuwo to Ominjandi village, then on to Orokaue where according to close sources a Hydrogen project is said to be initiated.
However, Sheya said the project will continue as planned as all arrangements are already in place.