Choi-Thousands of people in celebratory mood gathered at the Mashi Traditional Authority at Choi, some 130 kilometres west of Katima Mulilo, to celebrate the 13th annual Tulikonge Cultural Festival, where various cultural groups with their traditional songs and dances entertained the gathering.
The festival, which was held on Sunday, attracted people from across the region, including traditional leaders Chief Kisco Liswani III of the Masubia, Chief Boniface Shufu of the Mayeyi, as well as Zambezi Governor Lawrence Sampofu, and many other dignitaries.
In a speech read on his behalf, Chief Joseph Tembwe Mayuni said traditional ceremonies play an important role in safeguarding the nation against loss of identity, erosion of moral fabric and loss of cultural values.
“Such gatherings should be seen as part of the nationhood campaign of the Republic of Namibia, which has gone milestones in sustaining national pride. The Namibian house as a whole is beneficiary of this project.
“I therefore call upon my fellow traditional leaders and my subjects to use cultural ceremonies as a tool to promote social cohesion, peace and stability and to avoid entertaining any destructive elements that yield tribal animosities,” urged Mayuni.
Mayuni further added that tribalism was a disease that threatens to destroy the nation and should thus be eradicated. “I would like to assure the government that my people, the Mafwe, in essence do not entertain tribalism,” said Mayuni.
In the same vein, he exhorted his subjects to distance themselves from those who are instigating divisions.
“I am reliably informed that there are still people in Zambezi Region who harbour secessionist ideas. They continue to seek means of destabilising a peaceful Namibia by sowing division and poisoning unsuspecting minds.
“My people, please stay away from such elements. As a maturing nation we must guard against forces that seek to destroy the gains of our hard-won independence,” Mayuni cautioned.
He further urged peace-loving Namibians to reject the ideas of the Caprivi Concerned Group, who harbour intentions of dismembering the Zambezi Region from the length and breadth of Namibia.
The Mafwe chief also used the occasion to commend the efforts of the government to work with traditional authorities in delivering government services to the people.
“Traditional authorities have gained increasing recognition from the government since independence. The Mafwe community is continually appreciative of the infrastructural support rendered by government in the form of our building from which all our matters are administered,” he said.
However, Mayuni raised concern over the slow pace of the development of Kongola Settlement, as the land was availed for developing Kongola 15 years ago, but progress has been slow thus far. He appealed to the government to speed up the compensation process, as well as the building of roads and a water and sewerage reticulation system.
He further requested the government to seriously look into the plight of the Singalamwe and Masida communities who must travel long distances to the nearest health facility.
“A lot of valuable lives are being lost in the process of trying to access a health centre. I therefore request the government to establish health centres in these areas. Furthermore, I request the government to consider upgrading the health centre at Choi to cater for the demand from as far as Lizauli.”
* Hilma Nakanduungile is an information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, based in the Zambezi Region.