The //Karas regional governor Lucia Basson last month cancelled a meeting that she was supposed to have with the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA).
She called off the meeting with the traditional leaders and her Hardap Region counterpart Esme Isaak, after an official communication from her office, with NTLA secretary general (SG) Lazarus Kairabeb, was posted on Facebook.
Basson did not take it lightly that a communication between the NTLA and her office appeared on social media, where she says her dignity was violated under the pretext of freedom of speech.
The Facebook post which appeared on September 12 reads exactly as a response from the governor’s office to NTLA, informing them the said meeting should not be attended by Chief Johannes Matroos of the Bondelswartz as he is not officially recognized by the government.
The regional head then cancelled the meeting and she wants an apology from the NTLA SG, saying it’s either he apologises or not be part of any future meetings between her office and the NTLA.
“He should apologise to my office or I will not sit in a meeting with this person,” she said, adding that her dignity has been violated as a person and as a leader of the region by comments on Facebook.
Basson has since directed correspondence from her office to Chief Seth Kooitjie and the NTLA, and not to the SG as usual, indicating that Kairabeb had made a mockery of her office.
In a letter addressed to Kooitjie informing him of the cancellation of the meeting, Basson called on the NTLA to call Kairabeb to order and discipline him, so that he conducts himself as per his terms of reference.
“The SG, we believe, is not a man of integrity and he has demonstrated that on numerous occasions,” she says in the letter. Contacted for comment, Kairabeb accused the governor of being short-sighted and childish, stating the Facebook posts have no relation to the important issues that the traditional leaders want to address.
“How could that have any relationship with what was supposed to be discussed?” he questioned.
He stated that as secretary general of the traditional authority it is his responsibility to make sure all parties under the NTLA receive any communication that concerns them and when people take what they have been given, and post it on social media, then it’s entirely out of his hands.
Kairabeb further noted that he doesn’t understand how a public figure is offended by comments on social media, and as a result calls off a meeting of such importance.
“That for me is childish and I simply fail to understand the kind of leadership we have – the region is simply failing to produce the leaders it deserves,” he said.
The meeting was set to discuss issues such as genocide, reburial of the exhumed human bones at Lüderitz, repatriation of indigenous knowledge-based material held in foreign countries, and development projects in the region, amongst others.