Damara leaders set age limit to chieftainship

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New Era Newspaper Namibia
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Okombahe – The Damara-speaking community has set the age of 35 years as the age suitable to become a Gaob (chief). This was among the resolutions taken during last weekend’s Damara’s People Assembly at Khorixas.

According to secretary general of the Damara King’s Council Abner Xoagub, the assembly was attended by 600 participants, including 26 clans with most of them bringing ten and more delegates

Speaking to New Era on the sidelines of the main event, Xoagub said it was proposed that the minimum eligible age to become a Gaob (Chief) should be 35 years and that he/she should occupy that position until death.

Xoagub said the conference was a follow-up to the People`s Assembly held in Khorixas earlier this year. The aim of the assembly was to adopt the amendments made to the Supreme Customary Law, he said, and to discuss matters of concern affecting Damara people, ranging from leadership to cultural alienation and socio-economic challenges.

Xoagub said the other issue they discussed is the lack of recognition of Damara people as survivors of the brutal colonial wars, slavery, land grabs and colonialism and need affirmation to have peace of mind and be able to co-exist peacfully with all other citizens of the country.

According to him, the main gathering was officiated by Chief Justus ||Garoeb, who welcomed all delegates to the assembly and pleaded with everyone to openly partake in the deliberations.

Xoagub said the gathering also acknowledged the recommendations made at the 2015 People`s Assembly, which were incorporate into the revised draft Supreme Customary Law.

He said this was adopted and passed by all delegates and attendees at the assembly and became operational, with the recommended amendments to be effected by the Office of the Secretary General of the Damara Governing Council.

Furthermore, he added that the assembly revised and adopted the Damara Supreme Customary Law, which includes among others, the permissible age for customary marriages and civil marriages and noted that the aspect of !gamme||hāsib (marriage readiness) before entering into marriage ought to also be clarified in the Supreme Customary Law.

“The aspect of gender (surisi|guitikosib) must be addressed in the Supreme Customary Law of the ╪Nūkhoe||aes, and the Customary Laws of the various ╪Nūkhoe!haodi (clans), as well as ╪Nūkhoe!hao!âdi (sub-clans),” he said.

He said the congress also decided that the name ╪Nūkhoe (Damara) must be defined in the Supreme Customary Law of the ╪Nūkhoen.

“The congress also felt there is a need for the Supreme Customary Law of the ╪Nūkhoen, which was codified 27 years ago, to be amended in order to be in line with Acts of parliament passed in the meantime, but also to comply with the supreme law of Namibia, the Namibian Constitution,” he added.

According to Xoagub, the Supreme Customary Law of the ╪Nūkhoen (Damaras) must have an introduction, proper numbering of statutes, glossary and definition of words, phrases and legal terminology used.

Also, he said the initial version in ╪Nūkhoegowab should supersede the English translation; thus, by implication the Supreme Customary Law in ╪Nūkhoegowab has got superior status.

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