Kambazembi chief quits traditional leaders' meeting

11 Oct 2016 12:20pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 11 OCT (NAMPA) - Chief of the Kambazembi Royal Traditional Authority Sam Kambazembi on Monday walked out of a traditional leaders meeting, accusing Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa of disrespect.
Traditional leaders from all over the country are gathered at the 19th Annual Meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders that opened in Keetmanshoop on Monday. The meeting ends on Friday.
Kambazembi also left town and drove back to Okakarara Monday afternoon.
He told Nampa that he decided to leave the meeting after Shaningwa told him to sit down when he tried to clear up a matter concerning the attendance of a senior councillor in his traditional authority (TA), Annie Kahipuire.
Kambazembi said the incident arose when a councillor he dismissed in May, Festus Tjikuwa, also came to the meeting.
Two people from each recognised traditional authority were invited to the meeting.
The minister wrote a letter to Kambazembi in July, inviting the chief and an additional member of his council to attend the annual gathering.
Kambazembi showed Nampa a letter in which he confirmed his and Kahipuire’s attendance.
“When the roll call was done, three of us stood up. Prisca Anyolo [deputy director of regional councils and traditional authority coordination in the ministry] then took the name tag of our TA from our table to that of Tjikuwa.
“She then motioned to my senior councillor to move out of the meeting. That is when I produced the letter that I wrote to the minister,” Kambazembi said.
When the minister told him to sit down, Kambazembi said he contained himself and later went out to “cool off” before returning to the meeting.
“She spoke to me as if I was a child. I was humiliated and embarrassed in front of other chiefs. I am a respected leader and I cannot allow her to speak to me like that. I am a chief of my people till I die, while she is a person who is occupying a temporary position in Government,” he said.
After the break, Kambazembi returned to the meeting and informed the chiefs of his boycott.
“When it was my turn to speak at the podium, I apologised to the other chiefs and informed them that I would be leaving. I said that I realised the meeting was called for the minister and not for the TAs,” Kambazembi told Nampa at the hotel where he and Kahipuire stayed before traveling back to Okakarara.
The Kambazembi Royal TA is embroiled in an ongoing dispute over leadership.
The annual meeting is organised and hosted by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and is a convention of chiefs and Government to discuss matters relating to the authorities.
Shaningwa declined to comment when Nampa approached her at the event.
“That is an issue of the floor and not for me to speak to the media about,” she said.