Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa has urged traditional leaders to fully implement the resolutions of the recent Council of Traditional Leaders meeting.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the 19th annual meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders at Keetmanshoop on Friday, Shaningwa said it should not be business as usual, whereby resolutions taken during important meetings just gather dust without being implemented.
She specifically singled out the issue of border disputes, saying while this is a burning issue affecting many communities, nothing has been done by any traditional authority to find solutions, despite resolutions previously taken that all parties concerned should resolve these disputes by themselves.
The minister said although this was the decision of the council last year, and all leaders reached consensus to implement these resolutions, nothing has been done one year down the line, adding that what is worrying is the fact that the parties concerned have not even met to discuss and try to resolve these disputes.
Hence, no tangible feedback was given on dispute resolution during this year’s meeting.
“I should, therefore, express my disappointment that the disputing parties have not yet met to resolve the disputes amicably,” she said and urged all traditional leaders to ensure they implement the decisions of the 18th council meeting without further delay, saying traditional leaders should engage one another and be ready to make sacrifices during negotiations for the sake of peace and stability.
She said she is aware that the 49 vehicles acquired by government in 2009 for traditional leaders are aging, with some already damaged beyond repair, while the maintenance of these vehicles is escalating and thus consultations have already started to see how best to go forward with regards to the cars.
“I’m not saying things are going to be positive, but I will try my best and consultations have already started,” she stated.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD) Nghidinua Daniel, speaking about the ministry’s position as far infighting and border disputes are concerned, said the ministry is very clear that until traditional authorities make attempts to work out amicable solutions to their endless squabbles, they cannot turn to government for help.
Daniel said government cannot spend so much money on investigators tasked to help traditional authorities solve disputes, as in some cases the recommendations by these investigators are not accepted by the disputing parties and thus nothing is solved, while government keeps paying investigators large amounts of money. “Now we spend money so that these disputes can be investigated and when the recommendations are made some traditional authorities refuse to implement it,” he stressed, adding that government wants to focus on infrastructure development and not spend money on unnecessary disputes.
The week-long traditional leaders meeting ended here on Friday.