Shambyu chieftancy dispute continues

14 Mar 2018 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 14 MAR (NAMPA) – Members of the Shambyu Traditional Authority (STA) have requested President Hage Geingob to accord them the option of a democratic election in order to resolve a monarchy dispute.
The request was made during a meeting at State House on Wednesday when members of the STA tabled the matter for Geingob’s input.
The STA requested for the recognition of Sofia Mundjembwe as chief as per the will of the late Shambyu chief, Angelina Matumba Ribebe, who died in June 2015.
STA representatives informed Geingob that the Ribebe’s verbal will was communicated to traditional councillors and some of the royal family members.
“When she died, the Mwengere royal family and the senior traditional councillors agreed to respect the will of the late Ribebe and nominated Mundjembwe to succeed her,” said Senior Traditional Councillor Edward Sikerete in a letter addressed the president and which was read to him.
On 11 December 2015, Mundjembwe’s name was submitted to Sofia Shaningwa, who was minister of Urban and Rural Development at the time.
However, the Mukwahepo royal family did not accept Mundjembwe as the successor of Ribebe and nominated Maria Kunyanda Joachim as their candidate.
The two candidates are from the Vakwankora royal family and are offspring of the Vashambyu female royal women.
The different parties agreed on an election to decide on the chief between the two women, but it could not take place because Joachim passed away.
“The Mukwahepo royal family is desperate to be given an opportunity to rule, while the Mwengere royal family argues for the respect of the late Ribebe’s will and the fact that Hompa Mundjembwe is already coronated as Hompa, which according to the VaShambyu customary law cannot be reversed,” explained Sikerete.
He added that assistance to resolve the dispute was sought from the Kavango East and West Traditional Authority Forum and the Kavango East governor on separate occasions, but the Mukwahepo royal family refused to attend such meetings.
Sikerete said that if an election is held, it should only be for the confirmation of Mundjembwe as chief.
In the meeting, Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga told the STA members that a matter like theirs should refer to the traditional customs.
“How was succession dealt with in the Shambyu custom? If you answer that question, there shouldn’t be any problem,” he said.
Mushelenga further informed them that once they divert from their traditional customs as to how succession should be done, they are likely to face problems.
“The systems and laws in place does not provide for Government to install one traditional leader outside the customs. As you may have seen, Government has been taken to court several times and it doesn’t help for you to come here and say Government should intervene. What if someone goes to court and the court find it otherwise,” he asked.
On his part, Geingob told STA members that Government’s task is to run the country, and not to solve traditional issues.
“You are asking us to do it the European way of doing things, not traditional. I want to emphasise that, because we are always being told “our tradition, our tradition”, you failed! You are going to have elections now.”
The Head of State then instructed Mushelenga to consult with the Electoral Commission of Namibia to arrange the election.