Some Truths about Kavango

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PLEASE allow me in your letters’ column to react to an opinion piece authored by Mr Gilbert Muhongo Moraliswani that was entitled: “Avoid Unnecessary Tensions – Return the Board to Its Traditional Spot” that appeared in your newspaper on Thursday, April 5, 2007. Having read the said piece, one is influenced to make certain conclusions as that piece clearly insinuated that the people of the Kavango Region, be it its traditional and political leadership, are as follows: 1. Are tribalists who do not want to share space with fellow compatriots from other regions. 2. Have fraudulently annexed traditional land belonging to the communities of the Caprivi Region. 3. Are lawless as they are taking laws in their own hands by pushing out cattle herders from Ohangwena and Oshikoto and even burning huts belonging to those cattle herders. 4. Historically, the Hambukushu should fall under the lordship of Mr Moraliswani’s royal house as the traditional boundary of the Masubia to which I believe Mr Gilbert Muhongo Moraliswani belongs, starts right at the Hambukushu capital of Andara. More serious are the proposals that Mr Moraliswani made regarding the creation of a new constituency from Andara to Kongola in which cattle herders from the North will be invited to obtain land and that the government must intervene to redress the issue of shifting traditional boundaries without following proper procedures and consultations or else there will be tribal tension. Having read that piece, I honestly found it ambiguous and inciting as well as Mr Moraliswani’s clearly suggesting actions and consequences that might happen in future. In short, I would like to refute the allegations that were made in that piece as baseless as the Kavango Region, its leadership and its people are undeniably part of Namibia and cannot be accused of discriminating against other Namibians. If there are cases of discrimination and victimization, Mr Moraliswani must cite cases of that nature that were reported to relevant authorities in which the people of the Kavango Region were found guilty and punished for perpetuating unconstitutional practices. It is clear that the author of the said piece was misinformed regarding the grazing saga in the Ukwangali district. It is not true that the local residents are pushing out the cattle herders but the Namibian police through an eviction order instituted by a competent court of law. The Kwangali traditional authority complained to the government and the latter responded with the actions of evictions. Recently, the Inspector-General of the Namibian Police, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga reiterated the order publicly while addressing the police at Rundu. According to what I hear this move by Uukwangali traditional authorities is not to say that the cattle herders cannot graze their cattle in Uukwangali district, but that they follow proper procedures by applying for grazing rights. Historically, the Kwangali traditional authority and those of Ondonga and Oukwanyama, as it is the same with those other four communities in Kavango and even those in the Caprivi region, are almost inseparable and one should not have a wrong idea that that move is based on tribalism. Lastly, I would like to help Mr Moraliswani on issues of history as I could clearly see in his piece that he cited dates and events unchecked. For example, there was no Swapo-led government in 1989 as he stated, because the constitution was not yet adopted. The meeting between the Masubia of Sanjo, the Mayeyi of Matsaratsara and the Mbukushu of Libebe at Goha in Botswana was also not checked. For the sake of unity, national reconciliation and pan-Africanism, I suggest that instead of us dwelling on unnecessary tribal issues, we should strive to find and embrace each other as we have been historically divided by colonialism and apartheid, a chapter which should not be resurrected in whatever form. Shampapi Shiremo Unam Student