Judgment in Ndonga-Kwanyama case now Thursday

18 Feb 2014 14:50pm
WINDHOEK, 18 FEB (NAMPA) - A ruling in a legal wrangle between the Ondonga and Oukwanyama Traditional Authorities over a border area will now be handed down in the High Court on Thursday.
The verdict was supposed to be delivered on Tuesday, but High Court Judge Kobus Miller had other official commitments.
“I was not able to finish this judgement on time. The verdict in this matter will now be ready on Thursday this week,” he said this morning.
In the matter, the Ondonga Traditional Authority is suing the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority over a territorial border dispute between the two traditional authorities.
The Ondonga Traditional Authority wants the High Court to declare that an agreement signed by the heads of the two traditional authorities on 14 March 2004 is valid, binding and enforceable.
This agreement was supposed to settle a long-standing border dispute between the two traditional authorities.
Meanwhile, the territorial battle has continued, and the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority has said it does not regard the March 2004 agreement as binding.
According to papers presented before court during the hearing, there were a number of clashes between the communities residing alongside the disputed areas after some of the subjects of the Ondonga Traditional Authority allegedly started to defy its authority, claiming to be under the jurisdiction of the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority.
The agreement was signed by Ondonga King Immanuel Elifas and the late Oukwanyama leader, King Kornelius Shelungu.
Namibia's former President Sam Nujoma also signed the agreement as a witness.
In terms of the said agreement, the Oshuuthiya area in the far-eastern part of the Ohangwena Region was designated as the border between the two traditional authorities’ disputed areas of jurisdiction.
The area north of Oshuuthiya, up to Namibia’s border with Angola, was designated as falling under the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority, and the area to the south of Oshuuthiya as falling under the Ondonga Traditional Authority.
However, George Nelulu, the deputy chairperson of the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority, said in court papers that if this agreement is enforced, it will have the effect of transferring large tracts of communal land to the jurisdiction of the Ondonga Traditional Authority.
Nelulu stated that the agreement signed by Elifas and the late Shelungu is invalid.
He claimed that the late Shelungu was critically ill and frail at the time that the agreement was signed, and that he attended the meeting where the agreement was concluded simply out of respect for Nujoma, and not for negotiations to settle the border dispute.
He alleged that Shelungu “was duped into signing the purported agreement”.
According to Nelulu, the late Oukwanyama king was not authorised by any community meeting or by the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority to sign such an agreement.
The area being claimed by the Ondonga Traditional Authority includes a large piece of land which the Uukwangali Traditional Authority had allegedly donated to the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority in the 1940s.
A map dating from April 1937 clearly shows that the northern border of the Ondonga Traditional Authority’s area of jurisdiction is in the area of the village of Oshigambo in the Oshikoto Region, Nelulu told the court in his affidavits.
The Ondonga Traditional Authority is being represented by Windhoek-based defence lawyer Sisa Namandje.
Prominent human rights’ lawyer Norman Tjombe is representing the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority.
(NAMPA)
SKE/AS/TK