The Shambyu Traditional Authority on Saturday coronated Sofia Mundjembe Kanyetu as chief despite orders from the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaaningwa, to put the coronation on hold.
The Shambyu Traditional Authority says it went ahead as the directive from Shaaningwa would have delayed the coronation that has been embroiled in a tribal dispute involving two royal factions.
Kanyetu of the Mwengere faction was appointed by the late Hompa Angelina Matumbo Ribebe to take over the reigns as chief in the event of Ribebe’s death.
Last week the office of the governor received a letter from the office of the minister of urban and rural development, which directed the Shambyu Traditional Authority and the two royal factions not to designate any person as a hompa of the Shambyu Traditional Authority and to await the outcome of the ongoing investigation and recommendation thereof.
“I am writing to notify you that I have taken a decision to appoint an investigation committee to investigate the dispute between the two Shambyu royal families in respect of the designation of a hompa for the Shambyu Traditional Community,” Shaningwa’s letter said.
The letter addressed to Kavango East Governor, Dr Samuel Mbambo, further stated that it appears a dispute exists between the two royal families as evidenced by two applications submitted on different occasions by the two royal families to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development for the designation of a new hompa.
“I will inform you Hon. Governor, and all those who have an interest in the dispute of the Shambyu leadership succession will be informed about the dates of the investigation in due course,” Shaningwa stated.
The Shambyu Traditional Authority has been without a chief eight months after the death of Hompa Ribebe, who died in June last year. As is customary in Kavango, a period of 90 days is set aside for mourning after which the succession rituals to replace the chief start.
But more than eights months after the death of the revered chief and the mandatory mourning the Shambyu were still without a chief.
The reason was because members of the royal tribe has been in disagreement over who should succeed Ribebe.
The two clans locked in a bitter succession row are the Mwengere and Mukwahepo.
On Friday New Era spoke to Kosmos Kalat Makanga, the chairperson of the VaShambyu Traditional Authority (STA) and he admitted they got the letter from the Minister of Urban and Rural Development but said it came at the last minute after they had done all the preparations, and they had to go ahead. “We saw it as a delay if we were to wait because our people have been in the dark for a long time and the letter only arrived on Thursday morning while everything was in order. People had given their gifts and cattle for the event and people want their new chief,” said Kosmos Kalat Makanga.
The Mukwahepo faction had also given out invitations for their candidate’s coronation to be held on February 13, but have since put it on hold till further notice. “We have put it on hold as we received a letter on Wednesday and another on Friday from the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development which instructed us to put it on hold as the ministry said they are sending an investigation team to investigate the matter. We will let you know what is going to happen,” said Raphael Sinkumba, who spoke to New Era on behalf of the Mukwahepo faction.