Former minister of environment and tourism Willem Konjore has laughed off suggestions that he has threatened to take Chief Joel Stephanus of the Vaalgras Traditional Authority to court over his choice of who to succeed him as chief.
Sources close to the traditional authority allege that in a rare and unprecedented move, Konjore confronted Chief Stephanus at a meeting convened at Vaalgras recently and threatened to take him to court.
Konjore allegedly threatened to take the chief to court should he go ahead with plans to handpick his successor instead of allowing the community to elect their preferred candidate.
The source further claimed Konjore is lining himself up for the chieftainship and is unhappy that Chief Stephanus did not pick him as next in line to succeed. It was rumoured that the chief instead opted for a certain Hage Stephanus as heir to the chieftaincy.
“He challenged to take the chief to court. He says the chief has no right to impose a new chief on the people,” alleged one source close to the traditional authority. But in a telephonic interview this week, Konjore – who is the secretary of Vaalgras Traditional Authority – laughed off the claims and denied making any threats against the chief.
He said the rumours are being propagated by disillusioned elements and that such an incident never happened, suggesting it is nothing but a blatant lie concocted by some devious people. “That’s just an attempt to divide people and cause unrest among people. I’ve never done that and will never do that,” the minister stressed.
Konjore added that people should stop spreading false news and stop trying to create ill feeling amongst people who are working together for the sake of their communities. He also refuted claims that he is interested in the chieftainship. “I’m not at all interested in the chieftainship,” he said.
Chief Stephanus also denied that any such a confrontation had transpired, saying he is not aware of any such event. “I don’t know about that. Who told you about that? We didn’t have anything like that. It’s totally untrue,” he said.
He further confirmed that circulating rumours that he has already picked someone to succeed him as chief are equally false, as he is yet to appoint anyone. “I never appointed anyone at all,” he told New Era.