MEMBERS of the Ondonga traditional community – whether residing in the Ondonga tribal areas in the Oshikoto, Ohangwena and Oshana regions or living elsewhere in the country – have been busy for the past weeks preparing for and are looking forward to the official installation of their new king slotted for 29 June.
Young and old have acquired colorful traditional dresses fit for the great day and a sizable herd of oxen has been assembled to be slaughtered during the big festival while money is being collected all over the country to make the first installation of an Ondonga king in 44 years, a resounding success.
However, all the ongoing preparations would be in vain should a new court case succeed in reversing the Government’s recent approval of Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as the legitimate successor to late King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas.
The Shikongo Law Chambers, acting on behalf of the other throne claimant Konis Eino Kalenga and seven other applicants, is urgently seeking a reversal of the Government’s recognition of Nangolo and the cancellation of his planned installation on Saturday the 29th of June.
The urgent application will be heard in the High Court early next week.
Kalenga is the first applicant and he is joined by seven other applicants, while the Minister of Urban and Rural Development tops the list of respondents, which includes the Governor of Oshana Region, Elia Irimari, President Hage Geingob, Attorney General Albert Kawana and the Council of Traditional Leaders as second to fifth respondent respectively.
Nangolo is the sixth on the list of respondents which also includes senior traditional councillor Josef Simaneka Asino, Nangolo’s mother Maria Manene Josef and her sister Selma Kasamane.
The Ondonga throne became vacant when King Elifas died in the Onandjolwe hospital on 26 March and was buried on 13 April, but his succession was immediately plugged in controversy when two members of the royal clan – Nangolo and his uncle Kalenga – stepped forward each claiming to be the legitimate heir to the throne. Both submitted their applications for recognition.
The tense period appeared to be over when Minister Mushelenga on 10 June approved Nangolo’s application, but the hope was short lived.
The legal representatives of Konis Kalenga, the other claiming who also applied for recognition, reacted by giving the Government until 19 June to reverse its decision or risk being dragged to court.
The faction of the Ondonga Traditional Authority (OTA) that supports Kalenga met at Oluno in Ondangwa on 16 June and resolved to apply to the court for urgent relief to interdict and restrain Nangolo and/or any other person from implementing the Minister’s decision or to take any steps in pursuance of the implementation thereof pending the finalization of the review application.
The OTA faction further resolved to appoint the Shikongo Law Chambers to institute the aforesaid proceedings.
The resolutions of the said meeting were signed by traditional councillors Oscar Sheehama, Selma Shejavali, Nepando Amupanda, Erastus Mvula, Naeman Fillemon, Reinhold Nepolo, Konis Kalenga and Frans Shidhudhu.
“None of them is a gazetted traditional councillor. Their resolutions are therefore null and void,” said Kashona Malulu, the spokesperson of the other faction that supports Nangolo.
“All the gazetted traditional councillors of Ondonga are with us. We are the OTA, not them,” he said referring to the Oluno-based faction.
With the latest developments, many Aandonga have expressed dismay at the seemingly unending squabbling and the uncompromising attitude of those involved.