18 Jun 2013 10:30
WINDHOEK, 18 JUN (NAMPA) - The Supreme Court of Namibia on Tuesday dismissed an appeal application by OvaMbanderu traditional leader Queen Aletha Karikondua Nguvauva and senior traditional councillor Erastus Tjiundikua Kahuure.
The appeal application by the two leaders over the succession to the chieftaincy of the OvaMbanderu traditional community was dismissed in a judgement delivered by Supreme Court Chief Justice Peter Shivute, to which Judges of Appeal Sylvester Mainga and Gerhard Maritz agreed.
The two OvaMbanderu traditional leaders unsuccessfully wanted the Supreme Court to rule in their favour and to dismiss an earlier ruling by the Windhoek High Court, in which the two sought an intervention for Queen Nguvauva to defend a decision regarding her recognition as leader of the OvaMbanderu community.
?This appeal application arises from protracted legal proceedings essentially concerning a deeply regrettable and polarising dispute over the succession to the chieftaincy of the OvaMbanderu traditional community.
It is a matter that has a profoundly divisive effect on the community, resulting in the emergence of two opposing factions, each backing its preferred contender to the chieftaincy,? Chief Justice Shivute noted.
He said at the end that the appeal application by the OvaMbanderu traditional leaders - Queen Aletha Nguvauva and Erastus Kahuure - is dismissed.
?No order as to legal costs in the appeal application is made. The costs order of the High Court ruling in 2012 made pursuant to the dismissal of the application is substituted for the following order:- No order of costs is made,? said Chief Justice Shivute.
In a ruling in the High Court during June last year, Judge Collins Parker dismissed the request in which Queen Aletha sought further intervention in a review application pending in the High Court for her to be allowed to defend a decision taken by the OvaMbanderu Traditional Authority on her recognition as the traditional leader of the OvaMbanderu community.
Judge Parker also ruled at the time that Kahuure and Queen Nguvauva had not established a valid basis for the application to intervene.
After this High Court judgement, the two then took their fight to the Supreme Court, where in their heads of argument Kahuure and Queen Nguvauva pointed out that ?there are, with respect, fundamental fault lines which seriously weaken the premise of the judgment delivered in the High Court?.
They further argued that the Mbanderu Traditional Authority has demonstrably taken sides in the historical dispute.
?It has expressed a preference and support for one of the contenders to the chieftainship by not only opposing a review, but also launching a counter-application of its own,? they had argued.
The two also claimed that the High Court failed to properly appreciate and apply the well-established test for leave to intervene.
During the legal squabble, Jerry Ekandjo, who was the then-Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, made a decision that an election be held to determine the successor to the late Chief Munjuku Nguvauva, who was the recognised chief of the OvaMbanderu people.
There were two contenders to the throne - both sons of the late Chief Nguvauva, namely Kilus Nguvauva and Keharanjo II Nguvauva, who committed suicide in 2011.
The Mbanderu Traditional Authority and Kilus Nguvauva argued that the two had not been recognised by the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development.
They also argued that no basis whatsoever was laid by Kahuure and Queen Nguvauva to succeed Munjuku, who was her husband.
?It is common cause that she (Aletta Nguvauva) was not appointed or recognised as a successor to Munjuku,? they further argued.
Theo Frank, (SC), and Advocate Natasha Bassingthwaighte represented the Mbanderu Traditional Authority and Kilus Nguvauva (respondents).
Gerson Hinda (SC) and Vincent Maleka (SC) represented Erastus Tjiundikua Kahuure and Queen Aletha Karikondua Nguvauva (appellants).