Judgement day for Shambyu’s succession battle

15 Aug 2018 14:20pm

A war to succeed the Shambyu throne that has tipped two royal families against each other before spilling into the courts will this morning receive judgement today by High Court Judge Angula. 

The succession battle between the Mukwahepo and Mwengere matrilineal clans came to a hot climax when urban and rural development minister, Peya Mushelenga ruled that they both hold elections and be done with their wrangling.

The elections have been scheduled for this Saturday but one of the aspirant to the throne, Maria Ukamba Haindaka who hails from the Mukwahepo clan, is pleading with the court to set aside the elections and have the nomination exclusive to the Shambyu and done via the traditional way that involves elders.

The minister had stressed the involvement of the Electoral Commission of Namibia while a ministerial team would be dispatched. 

On the other hand, the Mwengere are siding with the minister’s decision and have reportedly nominated their own choice to the chieftaincy in the person of Sophia Mundjembwe Kanyetu.

What has irked the Mukwahepo is that their Mwengere fellow royals have been on the throne for 75 years now and they want to be given a chance. 

The judgement today will thus determine whether the elections will proceed or otherwise and until then, both parties can at best hold their breath.

The position by no doubt brings prestige, power and wealth given that, according to the Mukwahepo spokesperson, Raphael Sinkumba, the chief will have, among other things a right to collect levies, give land and marry people. 

Following the death of the Shambyu chief, Angelina Matumbo Ribebe in 2015, the throne was held by an acting chief who has since died leaving the throne empty to whoever wins the race.  

The bitter fighting came to the attention of former urban and rural development minister, Sophia Shaningwa who immediately instituted an investigation but according to the lawyer representing Haindaka, Eliaser Nekwaya, she did not call for elections. 

Council representing Mushelenga, Tinashe Chibwada has argued that the minister, in calling for elections was merely exercising his authority which is legally bound.

His counterpart, Sisa Namandje who is standing in for the Traditional Authority also cautioned court this week against impeding “statutory duties being carried out by an administrative official”. 

The judgement will commence with effect from 9 am this morning in the Windhoek High Court.