In response to ‘Mafwe authority booted from meeting’

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We wish to respond to the writer of the article that appeared in The Namibian of 11th October 2017, entitled, “Mafwe Authority Booted from Meeting”.

It is noted that the Mafwe traditional leader and his subjects wrote a letter to the Honourable Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa, in which they aired their discontent as having been excluded from the meeting convened by the Honourable Governor of the Zambezi Region on the 7th of September 2017, in which boundaries of jurisdiction in the region were to be discussed.

From the submissions levelled by the Mafwe Traditional Authority, it is deduced that the Mafwe Traditional Authority have a fear over the Mayeyi and the Mashi Traditional Authorities as having no areas of jurisdiction in that region; Elias Mueze led the Mafwe Traditional Authority representatives at the meeting; the Mafwe Traditional Authority wrote a letter of discontent as having been excluded from the meeting; those who remained in the meeting could have taken a decision that may jeopardise the Mafwe people; the hot issue of boundary grabbing land from the Mafwe people; the letter written to the Honourable Minister continues to implore to consider any decision taken by the meeting as being unfair and if possible for it to be nullified; that the meeting be reconvened in their presence.

Observations from their claims are that they were invited time in advance to the meeting. The meeting, as we observe, is sensitive since there is a decision to be taken regarding the jurisdiction and demarcations of boundaries to be allotted to each respective traditional authority for which we feel the chief was the right person to attend this meeting.

The fear of the Mafwe Traditional Authority regarding the fact that the Mayeyi and the Mashi Traditional Authorities is baseless, because in our understanding there are no jurisdictional areas for any traditional authority in that region. Reference is here made to the Declaration of 1993 by the then Honourable Minister Dr Libertine Amadhila of Regional, Local Government, Housing & Rural Development, in which it was stated and agreed by all chiefs that there will be no areas of jurisdiction for any traditional authority.

According to this Declaration, each tribesman or tribeswoman would resort and give allegiance to the chief in whose area he or she resides. To this end, we confirm that there is no traditional authority that has an area of jurisdiction in that region.

Accordingly, and to our belief, a quorum of four chiefs could be formed and when three out of four attended, whatever could have been decided rests within the spheres of the Honorable Governor’s report to the Honorable Minister and Cabinet. The nullification of the meeting could have some implications, as it would be challenged by those traditional authorities who attended and who left their areas specifically to come for this meeting.

Regarding land grabbing, we want to affirm our stance that there is no land grabbing that has ever taken place in that region between the traditional authorities since the Declaration of 1993 has not been repealed as yet. We also want to affirm that the Mayeyi and Mashi Traditional Authorities have their areas with their subjects and cannot be disputed.

This country has a constitution that stipulates that there are ethnic groupings, tribes, cultures, values, norms and languages that need to be respected and the chiefs are there to represent their subjects in their areas and not claiming jurisdictional areas that do not exist in that region, as the case is now.

Dr Vincent Ntema Sazita
Dr Brian Sitali Lwendo

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