Oorlam prepare for chief's coronation

03 Nov 2013 12:10pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 03 OCT (NAMPA) – A splinter group of Nama-speaking OvaHerero people at the Vaalgras village, known as the Oorlam, is preparing to coronate Revered Andreas Biwa as their new chief in December this year.
Speaking to Nampa on Sunday, Biwa confirmed that a meeting was held at Vaalgras on Saturday to prepare for his coronation, preferably on 07 December.
“We are still waiting for an answer from the Minister of Regional and Local Government Charles Namoloh to give us the go-ahead. In the meantime, we are just putting things in place so that when he pronounces himself, we are ready,” Biwa said.
As Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Namoloh has to pronounce himself on the matter, and the gazetting of elected leaders before their official coronation can take place.
The Vaalgras Traditional Authority (VTA) is currently under the leadership of Chief Joel Stephanus, who has been chief since 1975.
The splinter group led by Biwa accuses Stephanus of bad governance and maladministration, and as such, the group elected Biwa in September 2012 to lead them.
During the VTA by-election in 2012, the splinter group also elected Willem Apollus as senior councillor, plus 11 ordinary council members.
However, the move was dealt a blow in the same month when former Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Jerry Ekandjo said Stephanus will not be replaced as VTA chief.
“Stephanus is one of the liberation heroes of this country who was physically involved in the struggle for independence. So, with or without weaknesses, the Swapo-Party government will not abandon him,” Ekandjo said at the time.
Biwa told this news agency that to prepare for his coronation, the group on Saturday set up committees such transport and logistics, accommodation, catering, information and publicity, safety and security as well as entertainment.
Meanwhile, the meeting on Saturday took place during the same time a meeting was held at Chief Stephanus’s house.
Former Member of Parliament (MP) Willem Konjore, who is the VTA Secretary, told Nampa on Sunday that a group of more than 10 elders of the Tjikurire family from Windhoek, Aminius and Otjinene visited Vaalgras to see their descendants who settled at Vaalgras for decades, to share their knowledge and build family relationships.
Another reason is to discuss and learn the history of the Nama-speaking OvaHerero people and how they came to settle at Vaalgras.
Because the two meetings took place at the same time, the splinter group did not attend the family meeting.
Biwa confirmed that he and his followers did not attend the family meeting, because they had their own meeting at Klein Vaalgras.