Ministry probing Ukwangali chieftainship dispute

21 May 2015 17:50pm
MAYARA, 21 MAY (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development last week dispatched an investigation team to the Ukwangali Traditional Authority in the Kavango West Region to investigate a chieftainship dispute there.
A royal family member of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority, Severinus Siteketa and his faction is disputing the appointment of Eugene Kudumo Siwombe as chief of the traditional authority.
Siwombe was installed as chief on 25 April this year, replacing the late chief Daniel Sitentu Mpasi who died on 17 December last year at the age of 80.
Before his death, Mpasi publicly announced that Siwombe would succeed him.
The investigation team, which was led by Chief Herman Ipumbu, the leader of the Kwambi Traditional Authority, conducted an inquest into the matter last Wednesday and Thursday.
Special Advisor for traditional authority matters in the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development Phillips Tjerihe, who also formed part of the delegation, on Thursday confirmed that such an investigation took place, but said he could not reveal any details as he was not at liberty to do so.
The Chairperson of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority Chief Council, Christian Simuketa also confirmed that the investigation was carried out last week, saying they collected information on how the traditional authority elects its chiefs.
Simuketa said the delegation, which comprised officials from the Urban and Rural Development Ministry and the Council of Traditional Authorities met the Ukwangali royal family faction disputing the current leadership separately before meeting the incumbent Ukwangali royal family leadership.
“The delegation brought together the two groups on Thursday to question them on their royal family history,” he said.
The officials are busy compiling a report on the information they have gathered.
The inquest comes at a time when the incumbent leadership of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority is set to convene a meeting to discuss the chieftainship battle.
Siteketa was recently quoted in a local daily as saying that Siwombe was not procedurally chosen, as the elders of the Ukwangali tribe were supposed to evaluate four candidates from various royal families before selecting a competent person to take up the chieftainship.
Siteketa, who is from the Mpande royal family, said Siwombe from the Kanuni royal family was appointed by “his own people” and the other three royal families were disregarded.
The Ukwangali chief recently said the traditional authority’s leadership will meet to discuss the chieftainship dispute soon.
He noted that the disagreement is causing a division amongst the royal family members, hence the need for the meeting to restore peace and take the tribe forward.
Siwombe also cautioned his subjects in the Ukwangali Traditional Authority to not get involved in royal family issues, as the traditional authority has the capacity to sort itself out.
His coronation ceremony was attended by Urban and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa and several Cabinet Ministers, an indication that he is recognised by Government.