Election of !Kung chief postponed to October

21 Aug 2013 05:30
TSUMKWE, 21 AUG (NAMPA) – The election of a new !Kung chief was supposed to take place Monday at Mangetti Dune in Tsumkwe West, but was postponed to October this year after Government officials failed to show up for the meeting.
The !Kung San community were awaiting the arrival of representatives from the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD); Office of the Otjozondjupa Regional Governor; and members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) here.
However, none of the Government officials showed up at Mangetti Dune to witness the election of a new !Kung Chief.
The !Kung San of Tsumkwe West in the Otjozondjupa Region have been without a chief for over a year now since the death of Chief John Arnold in July 2012.
Shortly after 13h00 on Monday, some members of the !Kung San drove back to their respective homes in donkey charts, while some convened a public meeting at the N#A Jaqna Conservancy office.
In their discussions, !Kung San woman Indileni Sakaria proposed that the process of electing a new chief should start all over again by nominating candidates who should contest that position.
The 45-year-old Sakaria said this will give a chance to each and every San to nominate his or her preferred candidate who should contest the position of !Kung chief.
She said it would also be undemocratic for the !Kung Traditional Authority councillors themselves to nominate a candidate, who would contest for the vacant top traditional seat.
The gathering of San people concurred with Sakaria, noting that the nomination of candidates would now be done from 27 to 29 August this year.
It was also proposed that the !Kung Traditional Authority councillors, accompanied by representatives of the MRLGHRD and NamPol members – if they are found - would travel around the 26 villages that form Tsumkwe West next week, and allow all San people in those villages to nominate their preferred candidates.
The discussion concluded that once the nomination of candidates is completed, the actual voting will commence on 09 to 10 October 2013.
However, other San people in the area of Omatako told Nampa that it would only be proper to hold such election of a chief after the issue about the illegal occupation of land in Tsumkwe West is dealt with, and that the alleged illegal occupants are forced to vacate the area.
In an interview with Nampa last month (July 2013), Otjozondjupa Regional Deputy Director in the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata said about 37 alleged illegal fences were discovered in the Omatako and Janju areas alone.
“There are still three more communal area- Boebie Pos, Kano Vlei and Mangetti Dune, which are also fenced-off but not yet mapped by our offices. Therefore, the number of the alleged illegal fences might increase,” said Nghituwamata.
The smallest fenced-off farm so far is 36 hectares, while the largest measured 5 732 hectares, Nghituwamata said.
The alleged illegal farmers claim to have been forced to drive their animals there because of the drought situation in their areas of origin, which had been identified as the Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Omusati, Kavango and Omaheke Regions, and partly the Otjozondjupa Region.
So far, only verbal warnings from the police have been issued to the alleged illegal farmers, who were supposed to vacate the area before 06 July 2013 as per the orders of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol)’s Inspector-General, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga.
Meanwhile, the election on Monday was expected to see two candidates, being the former chief’s daughter Glony Arnold, and Sarah Zungu, a senior councillor in the !Kung San Traditional Authority, contesting the position.
Glony is a Lance Corporal in the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) at Grootfontein.
She told Nampa in a telephonic interview earlier that she had just returned from Omatako in Tsumkwe West, while Zungu was seen attending the community meeting at Mangetti Dune that same Monday.
The two candidates were decided on during a closed-door meeting in Omatako in June this year.
That closed-door meeting was 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, Rosalia Sibiya-Muashekele, who was the chairperson.
Sibiya-Muashekele also collected the application letters of these two candidates with the purpose to channel them to the MRLGHRD for a decision.
Sibiya-Muashekele confirmed chairing that meeting to this Nampa reporter, adding that she indeed collected the application letters of the two candidates from Tsumkwe West.
It is alleged that the MRLGHRD distanced itself from imposing any decision on the succession issue in Tsumkwe West.
Chief John Arnold led the !Kung Traditional Authority since 1990, and was officially recognised by Government in 1998.