Mbunza Authority chieftainship dispute under investigation

03 Dec 2013 16:10pm
KAPAKO, 03 DEC (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development has begun probing the Mbunza Traditional Authority’s chieftainship dispute in the Kavango West Region.
The Ministry has dispatched a 12-member delegation to preside over the closed-door hearing of the Mbunza chieftainship dispute this week.
In October this year, the group contesting incumbent Chief Alphons Kaundu’s appointment as a leader took their fight to the ministry, asking it to investigate the chieftainship dispute involving Kaundu and Esther Nankali Mbambo, a great-granddaughter of the late Chief Mate zaKatanga.
Mbambo’s supporters wrote a letter dated 27 September 2012 to the ministry, applying for Mbambo's recognition as chief.
The delegation is being headed by Chief Petrus Kooper of the Hoachanas Traditional Authority in the Hardap Region.
Chief Kooper told Nampa on Tuesday that the hearing commenced on Monday, where they met separately with the two groups.
He said the delegation was then set to hold a combined meeting with the two groups on Tuesday, before going out to conduct interviews in the Mbunza communities.
The dissident group in October this year took their case to the Council of Traditional Leaders’ (CTL) annual general meeting held at Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region, where they made a presentation on the history of the Mbunza royal family, as well as on how the incumbent chief (Kaundu) was ‘dubiously’ crowned as chief.
Their case was referred to the Council of Traditional Leaders in terms of Section 5 of the Traditional Authorities’ Act No. 25 of 2000.
The Mbambo supporters were stopped early this year by the Government Attorney from going ahead with their planned coronation of the new chief.
Mbambo was supposed to ascend the throne on 31 March this year, but Government Attorney employee Licory Frederick stopped them from proceeding with the crowning.
In a letter dated 20 January 2012 and addressed to the Mbunza dissidents, Frederick informed them that the planned coronation was unlawful.
She stated that the incumbent chief is legally recognised by President Hifikepunye Pohamba as chief of the Mbunza Traditional Authority in terms of the Traditional Authorities’ Act 25 of 2000.
The dissident group was also informed that it is unlawful to demand that Kaundu recuses himself from all activities within the Mbunza Traditional Authority, and that there are legal procedures to be followed when a chief must be removed from office.
“Chief Kaundu was not removed from office according to law. Thus, he will remain chief of the Mbunza Traditional Authority until he is lawfully removed from office.
Furthermore, only lawfully-recognised chiefs may perform the duties and exercise the power of a chief,” the Government Attorney stressed at the time.
Kaundu is the ninth chief of the Mbunza Traditional Authority, following the death of his late uncle, Chief Frans Haingura in 2000.