Storm Brews Over Ovambanderu Chieftainship

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By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

WINDHOEK – Senior Chief Erastus Kahuure is to call a meeting of the leadership of the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority (OTA) to explore the issue of the succession of late Paramount Chief of the Ovambanderu, Munjuku 11 Nguvauva.

Kahuure told an open-air press conference on Friday here in Traugott Handura Street in Katutura that the process of appointing a successor to Munjuku II “started off on the wrong footing and has assumed the dynamics of the long-standing disputes within our traditional authority”.

The Nguvauva clan, under the auspices of Peter Nguvauva, the guardian of the clan, anointed Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Kilus Nguvauva, to the throne of the Nguvauva clan on June 7 at the homestead of the late chief in the village of Ezorongondo in the Epukiro Constituency.

A section of the Ovambanderu that converged on the homestead then warmly welcomed the anointment after it was endorsed by the Supreme Council of the Ovambanderu.

This is the process Kahuure is referring to as having started on a wrong footing, terming it “purported designation”.
He said the meeting he intends to call would be followed by an assembly of the Ovambanderu community to hear, deliberate and agree on the process of succession to be followed.

He said he would convene the meeting as the legal custodian of the OTA to demonstrate his desire to have the succession process conducted in line with established Ovambanderu norms. This, in his view, was one way in which the community could mend the division within itself.

He said the OTA, recognised and gazetted, has structures and procedures that must be observed and followed when serious decisions that have a bearing on all its members are to be taken. He said these structures were affirmed by the High Court last year.

He said the recognised OTA does not have a structure known as the “Supreme Council” and the latter could thus not legitimately take decisions on behalf of the OTA.

He said the Ovambanderu community and the OTA have a special bond with the Nguvauva clan and still wish to maintain this relationship.

Kahuure said in line with the responsibilities cast upon him as Senior Chief of the OTA after the departure of late Chief Munjuku II, and the regard the Ovambanderu has for the role of Peter Nguvauva within the OTA – that is the head of the traditional court of the OTA – he approached Peter Nguvauva as an eminent person of the Nguvauva clan to ensure consultation.

Nguvauva agreed to Kahuure’s approach, making a written undertaking, Kahuure claimed. Kahuure, however, pointed out that Nguvauva has, meanwhile, reneged on this undertaking by anointing someone to the throne without even informing him. He said he approached Nguvauva to try to keep the issue of succession from being embroiled in the current dispute within the community. Rather, Kahuure would wants this issue to be one all Ovambanderu would identify with and that unifies them.

Kahuure also appealed to the Ovambanderu community and the OTA to refrain from and stop any activities purporting to identify and appoint a chief for the community.

“Nominees by whichever Ovambanderu constituency should not be harassed, intimidated and threatened with ancestral curse for not toeing a given wish or line,” Kahuure appealed.

Kahuure and company have been backing Keharanjo II Nguvauva to succeed to the throne. However, Keharanjo, at the meeting where the anointed Kilus was presented to the Ovambanderu, accepted him and even expressed confidence in his capability to lead the community.

Despite being the choice of the Ovambanderu section, known as the Concerned Group, that has been challenging the Ovambanderu governance structure in court, Keharanjo said he was not aware that the late Chief Munjuku II had made his choice of his successor known in a letter, which was read to the clan’s meeting as well as to the general meeting of the community. Now that he was aware, he would not want to go against the wish of his late father.

Kahuure denied knowledge of the 2001 letter expressing the wish of the late Chief Munjuku II. He pointed out that since the purported will, the late chief had also confided in him personally on who should succeed him, with Keharanjo II the choice. The chief, according to Kahuure, re-affirmed the expression of his will, as confided to him that Keharanjo succeeds him, to elders of the Ovambanderu at his homestead of Ezorongondo.

Kahuure, a bona fide member of the Nguvauva clan, did not attend the clan’s meeting, saying the Kahuure lineage of the clan, to which he belongs, was never invited to the meeting.

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