In an extraordinary step the Ondonga Traditional Authority (OTA) has approached the High Court to have its king, Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, mentally tested by medical professionals to determine if he is still of sound mind and fit to discharge his traditional responsibilities.
In court documents filed and undersigned by suspended
senior traditional councillor John Walenga on Monday this week, the author is seeking an order to have Elifas independently examined by a medical doctor and a psychiatrist.
The authority says it wants to determine the general physical, mental and emotional state of the king as he has allegedly been frail. Furthermore, the king’s hearing, speech and memory have deteriorated, court papers allege.
Fights and controversy have been swirling around the Ondonga kingdom from the moment the king allegedly wrote a letter to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development informing the government that Fillemon Nangolo Shuumbwa is the next in line and the king’s right hand man, but some have said the letter was forged and never came from the king himself.
The government last week said it would not interfere in the Ondonga chieftaincy squabbles, expressing hope that reason would eventually prevail to put the fights to bed.
According to an article that appeared in this newspaper, the king’s successor is not known to the public until such a time that the current king has passed on, which is according to tradition.
Walenga, a businessman and one of the eight people suspended by Kauluma recently, argued in court papers that there was a leadership crisis within Ondonga.
“There is clearly a leadership crisis as the Omukwaniilwa is not in a good general state of physical and mental health – he is old and isolated from his traditional support structure,” Walenga stated.
Through the back and forth fighting senior traditional leaders, namely, traditional council chairperson Peter Kauluma, traditional council spokesman Joseph Asino and senior councillors Walenga, Tonata Ngulu, Kashona Malulu, Joseph Akawa, Fillemon Nambili and Vilho Kamanya were suspended early this month.
They were allegedly suspended for challenging Elifas’ rule in court, arguing that he is old and ill and thus incapable of sound decision-making in the interests of the OTA.
The OTA seems now also to be unhappy with the king’s wife Sesilia Elifas as they, through their affidavit, have asked that she stops meddling in the affairs of the kingdom and related matters of power, duties and functions of the king and the OTA as a whole.
“She has disguised as the Omukwaniilwa and has dismantled and undermined all traditional structures in order to weaken and capture the traditional authority and the Omukwaniilwa,” reads the court papers, which also claim she is denying people access to the king.
The OTA wants the court to hand down an order that will grant senior councillor Peter Shimweefeleni and the supposed designate-successor Fillemon Nangolo Shuumbwa access to the king without the interference of the queen.
The papers further state that the kingdom’s wealth is unaccounted for as some of the livestock have disappeared.
The matter is set to be heard in the High Court on Friday. New Era understands the king and his wife have enlisted the services of Shilongo Law Chambers to fend off advances of their detractors.