Residents Want Chief Investigated

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK CALLS are being made to Government for a commission of inquiry into the alleged “corrupt administration” of Chief Petrus Simon Moses Kooper by a group of disgruntled residents of Hoachanas. In response to the petition handed over to him calling for his immediate removal as traditional leader of the Kai //Khaun clan, Chief Kooper said that this was just a deliberate move by a certain group of people to tarnish his reputation. “This is just a mere character assassination and a personal attack against me as chief. Some teachers in the town have instigated people against me,” said Chief Kooper, urging that a fair commission of inquiry or an investigation team to look into this long-standing matter be instituted. ” I will make my side of the story very clear, because these are all lies,” said Chief Kooper, adding that the latest demonstra-tion led by teacher David Topnaar comes a long way since he was appointed as Traditional Leader of the Kai //Khaun Clan in 1988. Last week, over 500 demonstrators marched and displayed placards, which according to Kooper carried messages that attacked him and his family. “They ridiculed my wife and my brother Fransie accusing us of dividing the Hoachanas community, the church and schools,” he said. The two-page petition accused Kooper who has been in the position for the past 17 years of being corrupt, unfair and non-transparent in the way he administers the affairs of the community. In an earlier interview, leader of the demonstration David Topnaar said that the community was calling for his removal as chief because a number of cases had shown that many things had gone wrong during his chieftainship. “Many things have not been right with him, because Chief Kooper is not all inclusive when holding his meetings. He does everything by himself and never gives feedback to the people in the community about the decisions taken,” said Topnaar. Accusations have been that Kooper allegedly conducts his administration in an ad-hoc manner and those who differ with him are excluded from the traditional authority. On the contrary, however, Kooper reiterated that he had at all times invited the concerned residents of Hoachanas to meetings but to no avail. “I apparently marginalised the people into poverty, but I have been encouraging them to start self-help projects, but they don’t want to stand up and do that,” said the chief, adding that these are just false accusations. On the complaints over landlessness in the town of Hoachanas, he stressed that this is a national problem that Government is currently addressing. He maintains that he was appointed as chief in a procedural manner, whereby he was elected out of four candidates, dismissing claims that he is not from the royal family. Kooper was sworn in in 1988 as the 17th Tra-ditional Leader, replacing the late Chief Mathews Kooper who died in the mid-80’s. Kooper could not understand why some teachers who were part of the demonstration and who are supposed to lead by example are supporting the move to get rid of him as chief.