Fight ethnic tension: Shaningwa

16 Oct 2016 16:40pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 16 OCT (NAMPA) - Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa has emphasised the need for inclusivity in Namibia to help keep the country off the beaten track of conflict on the African continent.
Closing the 19th Annual Meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders in Keetmanshoop on Friday, Shaningwa said the national traditional leadership had a duty to keep their communities united.
“Inclusivity, unity, fairness and socio-economic justice must always prevail when serving our people,” she said.
Referring to a “critical presentation” delivered by the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) during the weeklong meeting, Shaningwa said proven potential threats to the country included ethnically-motivated tensions, reparations, poaching, tribal disputes and traditional border disputes.
“We were cautioned to dispel the vices of tribalism as they have caused civil wars in many other countries,” the minister said, signalling traditional authorities (TAs) to mindfully consider the briefing notes of the NCIS.
Shaningwa reiterated the remarks of President Hage Geingob at the opening of the meeting last week Monday, where he told TAs to do their part in creating one “Namibian house”.
The President also spoke about the mushrooming and costly upkeep of TAs, suggesting that the material needs of chiefs should be carried by their “subjects”.
Shaningwa further described the inability of TAs to resolve disputes on traditional land borders as a burning issue.
“Borders are there for administrative purposes and not to divide people. The affected communities must engage each other and end the disputes or seek mediation from regional governors before approaching my office,” the minister advised.
Instead of being overly concerned about closing borders, TAs should in fact look beyond the borders of Namibia to see what is happening elsewhere in the world, Shaningwa said.
“We should guard and make sure that our country does not go through the ugly experiences of ethnic division and violence. TAs should follow existing laws on leadership and succession to minimise conflict,” she said.