!Kung San in Tsumkwe West divided over chieftaincy

18 Jun 2013 12:20
By Mulisa Simiyasa
TSUMKWE WEST, 18 JUN (NAMPA) ? The contest for the position of !Kung San Chief has started, with ill feelings brewing between the supporters of the two candidates for the position here.
The !Kung San people of Tsumkwe West in the Otjozondjupa Region have been without a chief for almost a year now since the death of Chief John Arnold in July 2012.
Two candidates have been identified to replace the late chief - the chief?s daughter Glony Arnold and Sarah Sungu, a senior councillor in the !Kung San Traditional Authority.
Glony is a Lance Corporal in the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) in Grootfontein.
According to sources who spoke to Nampa on condition of anonymity on Friday, the two candidates were decided on during a closed-door meeting in Omatako last Monday.
The meeting was amongst others attended by some community members, the !Kung San Traditional Authority Councillors, Tsumkwe Constituency councillor Francina Hishekwa-Ghauz and the Special Advisor to the Otjozondjupa Regional Governor Samuel Nuuyoma, Rosalia Sibiya-Muashekele who chaired the meeting.
Sibiya-Muashekele had reportedly also collected the application letters of the two candidates last Thursday.
The Office of the Governor will channel the application letters to the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development for a decision.
In the meantime, tension is high and division brewing between the two candidates? supporters.
Sungu?s supporters claim that the home of the late chief was never a royal house, and his daughter can thus not automatically take over the chieftaincy from her late father.
Arnold's supporters, on the other hand, said the chief cannot be replaced with an ordinary member of the !Kung San, because her father?s house is a royal house, and the chief left behind eight adult sons and daughters of whom one is supposed to succeed him.
They are also accusing Sungu and six other traditional authority councillors of the !Kung Traditional Authority of having failed the entire !Kung San community, because they allegedly were aware that their communal land was being sold or given away to farmers from other regions and yet they did nothing to stop it.
Sibiya-Muashekele on Monday confirmed chairing the meeting and that she collected the application letters of the two candidates in Tsumkwe West.
She was, however, not willing to say anything more and directed this reporter to the Otjozondjupa Regional Governor, Nuuyoma.
Contacted for comment on Monday, Nuuyoma said he has not heard anything about the succession race for the !Kung San chief position.
?What I can tell you is that I sent representatives to Omatako last week for other issues on land, but I don?t know anything on the succession race of the late !Kung San chief,? said Nuuyoma.
He said he will travel to Tsumkwe next Thursday, and only after then will he be in a position to comment on the succession issue.
Chief John Arnold led the !Kung Traditional Authority since 1990, and was officially recognised by Government in 1998.