Tjambiru’s Chieftainship Protest Flops

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By Wezi Tjaronda

WINDHOEK

Katjambia Tjambiru, who claims she is the rightful heir to the Kakurukouje Traditional Authority throne in the Kunene Region, has vowed to leave no stone unturned until justice is done following what she terms illegal moves to deny her of her father’s throne.

“We will fight the Government with all means at our disposal until justice is done,” said Helga Tjipe, who spoke on her behalf during a press conference on Monday.

Tjambiru, together with some of her subjects, was supposed to hold a peaceful demonstration at State House on Monday in protest against the recognition of Vemuii Tjambiru as Etanga chief but did not get permission to do so.

Tjambiru, whose fight for what she claims is her rightful position dates back more than 10 years, said: “The trees rivers, mountains and rocks in Etanga know she is the rightful person to rule Etanga.”

She claimed she was robbed of her chieftainship, which she inherited from her father (Vetamuna Tjambiru), by Minister of Regional, Local Government and Housing and Rural Development, John Pandeni, Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Angelika Muharukua, and President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

Tjambiru last week had an audience with the President to present her case but was told that the matter was under Pandeni’s jurisdiction.

In the letter that was supposed to be presented to State House after the demonstration, Tjambiru said, “I want to enter my protest and reject the highway robbery of denying me recognition as chief and recognising an illegitimate child, Vemuii, as chief of the Kakurukouje Traditional Authority.

“Your Excellency, Mr Pohamba, you can rob me of my birthright because you have the power to do so, but there is divine justice under heaven.”

Tjambiru in the letter added that mountains, rivers and valleys would reject Vemuii and that grass would not grow in Etanga as long as her people were subjected to the leadership of a renegade.

“Our ancestors will make heaven rain blood if a thief is placed on the chair of the Kakurukouje Traditional Authority,” she threatened.

However, Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development spokesperson, Frans Nghitila, said the ministry simply implemented the recommendations of the Council of Traditional Leaders.

The Kakurukouje Traditional Authority was not recognised by the Government until recently when Ukoruavi, Tjambiru’s father’s brother applied for recognition, which was referred to the Council of Tradition Leaders meeting in 2003.

Nghitila said the council sent out an investigating committee which visited traditional leaders and the community in August 2004 to verify the information supplied with the application, after which the council recommended the recognition of uhonapare (chieftainship) of the Kakurukouje Traditional Authority.

Just when the recognition was supposed to take place, Nghitila said, Tjambiru wrote a letter to complain about the possible recognition of Vemuii Tjambiru.
“The minister took note of the complaint and informed the President,’ he said.

The two parties met in September 2006 at the ministry, with Kunene Regional Governor, Dudu Murorua, in attendance. The meeting failed to reach an agreement and in accordance with Section 12 of the Traditional Authorities Act of 2000 concerning the settlement of disputes, both parties were advised to petition the minister on the matter.

Nghitila said upon receipt of the petition, Pandeni appointed an investigating committee, which travelled to Etanga and spoke to people there.

Nghitila said Pandeni decided, upon recommendations of the committee and in accordance with customary laws and traditional practices, to designate Vemuii Tjambiru as chief of Etanga.

“This was based on the findings of the investigating committee,” he said, adding that the decision was based on law and not on politics as it is purported.

In a press release she issued earlier in January and copied to the Legal Assistance Centre, National Society for Human Rights and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Tjambiru said there was a succession dispute between her and Ukoruavi who also died in 2005. She claimed that the son of her half brother was designated to become chief because he is a Swapo supporter.

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