Ovambanderu Head Back to Court

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Gobabis The Ovamban-deru Concerned Group is heading back to the High Court for the second time following their failed negotiations with the Ovam-banderu Traditional Authority at the end of June. In early May, the Windhoek High Court ruled in favour of the Concerned Group, instructing the Traditional Authority under Paramount Chief Munjuku Nguvauva to reinstate his number two Erastus Kahuure and other traditional leaders who were expelled following the controversial adoption of a constitution by the traditional authority. The parties also agreed to search for an out-of-court settlement on other issues centred around the constitution. However, the negotiations failed. It appears now that the battle between the parties is set to be a prolonged one. The two parties are at loggerheads following a decision last year by the Supreme Council of Traditional Authority to implement a constitution, which has caused a serious rift in the community. The Concerned Group claims that proper procedures were not followed in writing the constitution and thus it should be declared null and avoid. However, the Traditional Authority believes that the constitution has been adopted by the Supreme Council, so the Concerned Group should accept it and only seek for amendments. Addressing members of the Concerned Group at Gobabis, Mbeuta Ndjarakana said the community members should prepare themselves for a long bitter battle in court. Ndjarakana who is one of the leaders of the Concerned Group said the Windhoek Branch of the Concerned Group took the decision to take the matter back to court. He said following failed talks with the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority, which were mediated by Deputy Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Kazenambo Kazenambo, they decided that going to court was the best route. “We have written a letter to Kazenambo to that effect and we have already engaged our lawyers.” Ndjarakana added that it became clear during the negotiations that the other party was not serious about the dialogue and that it had taken an arrogant stance to the matter. “When we met the other party, still they had the audacity to ask us what our grievances are despite the fact that the grievances are clearly spelled out in the court papers.” Ndjarakana said their lawyer Patrick Kauta has also roped in the services of well-experienced lawyer Andrew Corbett for the second showdown in the High Court. “Our lawyer has written a letter to the lawyer of the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority to inform him about the decision to return to court.” Ndjarakana stated that he is optimistic about a second victory in court because the other side does not have a case. “Their lawyer is advising them to opt for an out-of-court settlement and I think the lawyer might even withdraw from the case.” He added that the Concerned Group is looking at a legally binding solution this time around. “We want the High Court to declare the new constitution null and avoid.” He added that in the new application to the High Court, they will also demand that the court as well orders Nguvauva not to interfere in the drafting of a new constitution and that the Traditional Authority should pay the legal fees of the Concerned Group. Ngondi Muundjua from the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority said they are ready for a second appearance in court. “If they decide to drag their chief to court, we are willing to fight and defend him.” The Concerned Group, which initially started off with Senior Chief Erastus Kahuure as the centrepiece has developed into an organised group within the Mbanderu community with its own structures. Leaders of the Concerned Group travelled to the different constituencies to brief their members about the latest decision. Meanwhile, sources close to the dispute have revealed that followers of Chief Nguvauva met at the weekend at Omauozonjanda where they among other things discussed the court case issue. New Era can reveal that a decision was taken at this meeting to raise money for the court case. It was agreed that donations in kind could also be made. It is understood that no less than 20 people who attended the meeting agreed to donate a cow each. This however could not be officially confirmed at the time of going to press.