Ovambanderu Meeting Ends in Tussle

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By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro TALLISMANUS The deepening rift within the Ovam-banderu community came to a head last weekend when the police were forced to fire warning shots to restore order between two feuding factions. One person from an opposite faction was assaulted for using a tape recorder at a meeting called by the other faction. He later laid charges with the police. A meeting meant to explain the controversial and disputed Constitution of the Ovambanderu and graced with the presence of Ovam-banderu Paramount Chief Munjuku II Nguvauva, was aborted when this cultural group split into two resulting in two separate meetings taking place. One meeting took place under the auspices of Mun-juku II in the community hall and the other under the guardianship of Senior Chief Eras-tus Kahuure, as the latter group refer to him, took place at the usual meeting place of the Ovam-banderu. The fanfare and razzmatazz that engulfed the arrival of Munjuku II who was given a king’s welcome and escorted into the village by green flag cavaliers, soon gave way to disappointment on Saturday when the chief only made a brief stop-over at the Ovambanderu meeting place. As the chief entered the village accompanied by a motorcade, many who had gathered in big numbers at the traditional rendezvous of the Ovambanderu here, waited with bated breaths to see if their paramount chief would come to them. Come he did indeed, but briefly. He explained that his coming was just to greet them and to notify them that the meeting would take place in the community hall. He then asked the crowd to start moving to the venue, as it was nearly time to start. On that note, the chief and his contingent departed, leaving in their trail disappointment and a sense of loss among the group that remained behind. Tension was setting in with both sides hurling words at one another. It took the chief’s meeting in the hall about an hour to start while awaiting the Kahuure group. When the latter did not show up, the chief sent a delegation to invite him to the meeting in the community hall and to alert him that the time the meeting was scheduled to start had passed. It was then that commotion erupted, with some members of the Kahuure faction getting agitated by the attempt of the Munjuku II’s faction Councillor, Moses Ngondi Muundjua, to tape-record the response from this faction to the chief’s invitation to join the meeting, in order to avoid any misrepresentation. Muundjua was in the process manhandled and only the Police came to his rescue, firing three warning shots to disperse those who had pounced on the fallen councillor. Muundjua was then escorted away by members of his faction and the Police. Muundjua said he received a cut to the lip when he was hit with a chair. The meeting then delegated Kahuure, assisted by nominated members of his faction, to give the leader of the chief’s delegation feedback on whether or not he would join the meeting in the community hall. The Kahuure meeting was by this time underway. Kahuure and company insisted the bulk of the Chief Munjuku II’s followers were at the usual Ovamban-deru meeting place where they were waiting for the chief to join them since the hall was too small for the crowd. Through their insistence, they were also testing the precedent already set by the chief when he convened a meeting in Aminuis mid-January this year. On that occasion the chief snubbed the faction that included most of his councillors in Aminuis who requested that the meeting be held at the village of Okombepera. Instead the chief took the meeting to Ondjiripumua, the seat of the Ovambanderu authority in Aminuis, saying it was only natural to have the meeting at the seat of the Ovambanderu governance in Aminuis under the chair of his representative there, Senior Councillor Ludwig Karumendu. Similarly, the Kahuure faction felt that since Chief Munjuku II requested him to convene the meeting, that included him also deciding on the venue. Since the Ovam-banderu have a usual meeting place and the chief was coming to meet them, they felt it was only natural that they meet at the customary venue. Sources have it that the issue of the precedent set by the Ovambanderu meeting in Aminuis was also debated by the Ovambanderu top structure. In fact the top echelon of the Ovambanderu was engaged in what appeared a pretty vexed discussion on Saturday at the funeral of the wife of erstwhile Ovam-banderu traditional priest, Mainjunguruka Ndjoze, at the village of Otjijere, just before the Tallismanus meeting. Differing views are said to have been expressed, with some saying the Aminuis precedent should be followed. Others had different viewpoints. The contrary view prevailed. Upon receiving feedback on Kahuure’s insistence on meeting at the usual Ovam-banderu meeting place, the meeting under Chief Ngu-vauva pondered whether to go ahead without Kahuure and company. However, it was pointed out that the reason for the meeting was to explain the Constitution to the Ovam-banderu in Otjombinde. It was agreed the meeting should go ahead. Even Chief Munjuku II seemed ambivalent about what to do, given the situation playing itself out of the split into two groups. He sought guidance from the meeting. Both the chair of the meeting in the hall, Chief Munjuku II and Senior Councillor Gerson Katjirua had to keep emotions in check in view of calls for retaliation against the assault on Muundjua. Some bayed for the blood of some members of the other faction who were apparently in the community hall. The meeting eventually proceeded with explaining the Constitution and how it came about. Either the crowd was clear about the Constitution for there were hardly any questions relating to its content. Alternatively, it did not know much about it and thus had no basis for questions. Time and again the chair had to call speaker after speaker to order for veering from the issue at hand. For the Kahuure faction, known as the complainants in the parlance of the Ovam-banderu constitutional dispute, it is aluta continua. One of the resolutions they took at their meeting was to go ahead with a legal challenge against the Ovamban-deru constitution. Besides, Kahuure thinks the Ovambanderu need to come together to seriously look at the deepening disunity in the community as well as Chief Munjuku II’s ill-health. Meanwhile, the Police here have confirmed that Muundjua laid a charge of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm against certain members of the Kahuure faction.

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