Traditional leaders threaten NBC with legal action

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OHANGWENA – Newly appointed senior councillors of Oukwanyama Traditional Authority have threatened to take action against the public broadcaster, Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), which they accuse of having labelled them as members of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).

During a press conference held at the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority’s headquarters at Ohangwena, Senior Councillor of Ohakafiya West, Efraim Hamalwa Weyulu, and Senior Councillor of Ohakafiya East Job Haihambo, threatened to take unspecified action should the national broadcaster fail to publicly clear their names.

The NBC carried a news bulletin on October 14 in which it reported that hundreds of community members from the villages within Ohakafiya West and East, held a peaceful demonstration demanding the removal of the two newly elected senior councillors. According to the NBC report, villagers were not happy with the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority’s choice of leaders, as the two leaders belong to a certain political party. However, the news bulletin report did not name any political party to which Weyulu and Haihambo are alleged to belong.

Weyulu and Haihambo are nevertheless adamant that the national broadcaster labelled them as members of the RDP, and for that reason, the two leaders ‘will not leave any stone unturned’ if no apology is given within 14 working days.

They also demanded that NBC should reveal its sources of information. “If they fail to give in to these demands, we are going to take action and NBC will be the first respondents. They tarnished my image and my reputation because they put me with the party that I do not belong to and never belonged to. I want NBC to show my RDP membership card. I served Swapo since 1974 in exile and continued to work as a civil servant after independence. People sing that ‘their blood waters our freedom’, I say that my blood waters our freedom. I never left Swapo,” said Weyulu.

Weyulu maintains that he and Haihambo were appointed by Oukwanyama Queen, Meekulu Martha Mwadinomho Christian Nelumbu, as per the Traditional Authorities Act that gives her power to appoint members of her council, irrespective of their political affiliation. Weyulu said the NBC failed to contact them for comment before the news broadcast.

The NBC news bulletin quoted the spokesperson of the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority George Nelulu who allegedly maintained that community members in Ohakafiya West and East had enough time to reject the appointed senior councillors as the queen first nominated them and gave enough time for the communities’ scrutiny before the official appointments.

Haihambo said he too shares Weyulu’s sentiments of taking unspecified action against the NBC should they fail to publicly apologise. Haihambo also maintained that he is not a member of the RDP and he has never joined Namibia’s official opposition party in his life.
By Helvy Shaanika

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