Infighting amongst chiefs in the Kunene Region will only divide the region, as opposed to developing it. There are over 100 unrecognised chiefs in the region, Kunene Governor Angelika Muharukua observed recently. Some of the unrecognised chiefs in the northern part of the region often share areas of jurisdiction.
This she says, results in conflicts, which at times remain unresolved because the chiefs do not consult each other regarding decisions they intend to take. “Some of them accept illegal settlers in their area, without consulting each other and this results in conflict,” said the governor.
One of the resolutions made at a meeting with traditional leaders in the Kunene Region last week was for chiefs to work in unison. “It was resolved at that meeting that chiefs in the same area should consult each other when making decisions. Also, illegal settlers will not just be chased away, just like that, but they would need to go through proper structures,” explained the regional governor.
She added that the Traditional Authorities Act requires that chiefs promote peace and the welfare of their communities, and that they supervise and ensure the observance of customary laws of their community. “They are also responsible for the management of rural land and are tasked with advising the Council of Traditional Leaders on those issues,” said the governor.
Furthermore, Muharukua expressed concern about poaching in the region. She said poaching presents a real threat to indigenous species, such as rhinos and elephants. “We need to do something to help government in preventing poaching. Communities should join hands and prevent poaching,” said the governor.
In addition,Kunene Region is rich in natural resources, but its people do not always benefit from those resources, she stated. For example, sodalite rock is mined in the region. “Trucks are transporting huge rocks to Walvis Bay and tiles are made somewhere else from these rocks, then we buy these tiles made from rocks that are mined in our region,” Muharukua pointed out.