Two Groups Are at Loggerheads over Constitution

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Since last October when the Ovambanderu adopted a new constitution, the two groups have been at loggerheads with the “complainants” challenging the procedure with which the constitution was adopted. By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro WINDHOEK The second sequel to the long-awaited trial in the court case between the Ovambanderu as represented by their traditional leader, Chief Munjuku II Nguvauva, and an Ovambanderu group calling itself the “complainants”, among whom is the Ovambanderu Senior Chief Erastus Tjiundikua Kahuure, has been set for March 27, 2007. Patrick Kauta of the law firm Dr Weder, Kauta and Hoveka, who is representing Kahuure and 10 other Ovambanderu traditional leaders, has informed the group accordingly in a letter dated October 18, a copy of which is in the possession of New Era. The trial date has been set despite the inability of the defendants to provide their legal representatives from the law firm, LorentzAngula, with the requisite information to enable the lawyers to file the answering affidavits by the return date. According to information from correspondence between the legal representatives of the two parties to the dispute, the defendants, who are the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority as first respondent, and Chief Munjuku II as second respondent, were hoping to file their answering affidavits by September 25. However, in a letter from their lawyers dated September 26 to the lawyers of the applicants, that is Kahuure and others, the lawyers communicated the fear that they might not be able to do so during the week of September 25-29, 2006. Due to the unavailability of the advocate who was involved in “court cases and matters in the High Court”, and the impracticality and unsoundness of instructing a new advocate, the defendants’ lawyers asked for 7-10 days more in which to do so. However, on their client’s instruction, Kauta refused the defendants any extension pointing out that the reasons given for the delay were not good enough and that his client was keen to finalize the matter. Again, on October 6, the defendants’ legal representative, LorentzAngula, wrote to the applicant’s law firm saying they had discovered, whilst finalizing the answering affidavits, that the agenda and minutes of the Supreme Council hearing held on March 25, 2006, which should have been part of the law firm’s record, was not made available to them. They wrote further that their client had undertaken to fax the agenda and the minutes during the course of the day – October 6, 2006 – and that as soon as they were received and translated they would forward them on to the Dr Weder, Kauta & Hoveka law firm. LourentzAngula apologized to their counterparts for any inconvenience which may have been caused and hoped that in view of the fact that they had not delivered their affidavit, their client’s omission did not prejudice them materially. They therefore proposed that the applicant’s law firm be afforded ten days more upon receipt of the said agenda and minutes “to take any of the steps as envisaged in the said Rule 53 (4).” It is for this reason, LourentzAngula concluded, that they deemed it fit to have filed their answering affidavits at that stage, given that “your response thereto may impact thereon.” Meanwhile, Senior Traditional Councillor Gerson Katjirua has replaced Kahuure on the Omaheke Resettlement Committee. This was communicated to the Chairperson of the Committee in a letter from the Mbanderu Royal Authority dated September 6 titled: “Reshufflement of Ovambanderu Representatives in Various Departments of the Government Ministries”. A Siririka, on behalf of Chief Munjuku II, signed the letter. Since last October when the Ovambanderu adopted a new constitution, the two groups have been at loggerheads with the “complainants” challenging the procedure with which the constitution was adopted. The other group has been maintaining that there was nothing wrong with the procedure, riding in particular on the fact that Chief Munjuku II gave the constitution his seal. The matter had a sequel in the High Court in May this year. But several bids at peace after the court hearing – among them also by the Deputy Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Kazenambo Kazenambo – have proved futile. However, behind the jostling for the constitution, successive battles, marked by accusations and counter-accusations of power-hunger, have been taking place.