Community Calls for Chief’s Removal

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Over 500 disgruntled members of the Hoachanas community held a peaceful demonstration at the town last week expressing their discontent over the 17-year “corrupt administration” of Chief Petrus Simon Moses Kooper. In a petition handed over to Kooper last Friday, the demonstrators called for the immediate removal of the traditional chief, while at the same time calling for government’s intervention into the matter. The so-called “controversial” traditional chief of the Kai //Khaun clan in Hoachanas, Chief Kooper, is accused of being corrupt, unfair, involved in witch-hunts and not transparent in the way he conducts his current leadership. On Friday, the leader of the demonstration David Topnaar handed over the petition to Kooper at the town’s community hall. Speaking to New Era, Topnaar said that many incidents have shown that a lot has gone wrong in the way his chieftainship has administered Hoachanas. “Many things have not been right with him, because Kooper is not all inclusive when holding his meetings. He does everything by himself and never gives any feedback to the people in the community about the decisions taken,” said Topnaar. Lately, he allegedly also removed Johannes !Nakum from the traditional council after experiencing differences with him, including Topnaar himself, without giving any concrete reason for his action. Further accusations against him are that he carries out his administration in an ad-hoc manner and those who have differences of opinion with him are excluded from the traditional council. At the same time, the appointment of Kooper as chief 17 years ago was allegedly not carried out in a procedural manner. “It was a rush, rush appointment and he is not even from the royal chieftainship to be the traditional leader,” added Topnaar, saying that government should step in and listen to both sides of the story in order to take appropriate action. The authorities of the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development have been informed about these concerns of the community. The incident, which was peaceful and under police escort, significantly took place under the Gomareb Freedom Trees – the place all previous political rallies have been held. The latest demonstration coincided with the 100th anniversary commemoration of the late Chief of the Kai //Khaun clan in Hoachanas, Chief Manase !Noreseb last week Friday. December 01, 1905 was the day when the late leader !Noreseb was defeated and died in the war when he defied and fought against the invading German colonialists at the time. History says that he was shot and beheaded by the imperial forces and his head has not been found to date. Topnaar concluded that holding the recent demonstration does not in any way spoil the centenary commemoration, but rather honours the late Chief !Noreseb. The actual commemoration activities were held over the weekend.