Aletha Nguvauva leads breakaway from OTA

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Selma Ikela
Windhoek

A faction that supports Aletha Nguvauva as the rightful claimant to the Ovambanderu chieftaincy has announced the establishment of an Ovambanderu Traditional Council (OTC), saying they are no longer members of the official Ovambanderu Traditional Authority (OTA).

The OTA is led by Ovambanderu chief Kilus Nguvauva.

According to a member of the faction supporting Aletha Nguvauva, this means that in future the OTA under Kilus would no longer be allowed to interfere in or prevent the newly founded OTC from organising community events and commemorations.

They hold that Aletha has the customary right to lead her followers under the auspices of the OTC and furthermore that the OTA has no “jurisdiction over people who are not their members”.

An OTC supporter explained that because of the dispute between Kilus and Aletha’s factions, earlier this year the group under Aletha approached the government for recognition.

“Because of the dispute we have two chiefs, [but] Kilus’ recognition by government does not invalidate the customary appointment of Aletha,” he said.

“Remember, when you are in one [traditional] authority, you cannot have parallel structures… but in our case it was the situation.” This was the case, they claim, because Kilus “is not complaint” and “is not fit in our customs to became a chief”.

The source, who preferred not to be named as he was not mandated to speak to the press, claimed that they now have parallel structures, because one faction follows the strictures of civil law, while they (Aletha’s faction) adhere to customary law. As a result, they reject the leadership of the OTA.

“Because we want to advance our cultural needs and aspiration we decided to make a submission to government for recognition as a separate entity, but we are still waiting on government for recognition. Yet that does not mean we cannot profess and enjoy our culture,” the OTC supporter said.

A media statement issued by the OTC last week and signed by Aletta Nguvauva said those who have repudiated Ovambanderu custom by rejecting the findings of the statutory appointed investigating committee on the Ovambanderu leadership dispute, created the current predicament by purging others from the leadership.
The statement further railed against “the arbitrary and unilateral removal and purging of all imminent, veteran and prominent Ovambanderu leaders, such as senior chief Erastus Kahuure and Salomon Hartely Karutavi, etc. from the leadership structures, as evidenced by their de-gazetting…”

Aletta Nguvauva said such action on the side of the OTA has effectively confirmed the position set out in their High Court application for the official recognition of OTC and “the designation of Aletha as the paramount chief”, saying the two bodies represent two distinctly different entities.
The statement further alleges that the OTA has “repudiated the customary practices, norms and traditions” of the Ovambanderu.

It also noted that the OTA had launched an urgent High Court application to interdict Aletha Nguvauva and Edwin Uetujeta Tjozongoro from hosting a commemoration event at Okasete in Gobabis district earlier this month.
That s application was, however, dismissed on August 18 due to lack of urgency and was struck from the court roll. The OTA was also ordered to pay the costs associated with their failed application. The OTC said they then proceeded to organise their event on August 18 to 22 at Okaseta in accordance with “customary, statutory and constitutional provisions”.

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