KEETMANSHOOP, 24 SEP (NAMPA) -
Some seniors in the /Khowese clan of Gibeon has chosen a nephew of the late captain Hendrik Witbooi as his successor. Salomon Witbooi, a former high commissioner to Zambia, is set to become chief during a coronation ceremony to be held on 03 October in Gibeon.
This decision comes amid a stalemate over succession between those in the Witbooi family, the /Khowese clan and the Gibeon community.
Some have been backing Salomon Witbooi (also known as Koelieb), a son of a sister to the late captain, while others have been behind Ismael Witbooi (also known as Isaxub), son of a brother to the late captain.
The leadership dispute arose a few years after the death of former deputy prime minister and last captain Hendrik Witbooi in 2009.
On Thursday, Pinehas Topnaar, spokesperson and leader of the upcoming coronation process, confirmed to Nampa that Salomon was appointed as the new captain during a community meeting at the village on 12 September.
He said Salomon's nomination was announced in December 2011 already and accepted by the Witbooi families in January the following year. Topnaar said the clan was informed of the decision during a meeting on 14 April 2012, where an objection to the naming was raised.
"Because of that dispute, we moved the decision of successor in order to focus on improving relations among the clan," he said. This however has not happened, largely because the rivalling groups were unable to communicate and resolve the conflict with one another.
Topnaar said they could no longer delay the move to install a captain and on 14 March 2015 informed the clan that the process would continue.
Ismael Witbooi, who attended the follow-up meeting two weeks ago, told this news agency on Thursday he still objects to the decision of his nephew as captain.
He said his group was calling a clan meeting this Saturday at Gibeon for all views on this matter to be heard.
"The coronation cannot proceed while the family disputes are not yet settled," Ismael said. Meanwhile, acting captain Christiaan Rooi, who has been the deputy captain at Gibeon alongside Hendrik Witbooi for several decades, is currently in hospital in Windhoek awaiting an operation after sustaining a hip fracture.
Rooi has been plagued by ill-health for the last two years.