IF numbers are anything to go by and if the public show of support is to be used as a barometer in determining the successor of late King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas of Ondonga, then the matter was settled in a dramatic way when the two claimants – Konis Kalenga and Shuumbwa Nangolo – held separate public events over the Easter Weekend.
No shadow of doubt remains as to who enjoys the overwhelming support of the Ondonga traditional community.
Kalenga held a consultative meeting in the Oluno suburb of Ondangwa Friday afternoon to which all elders of Ondonga were invited but only about 200 people turned up.
On the other hand, Nangolo addressed thousands of supporters and well-wishers who flocked to his residence in the Onambango village on Saturday.
Kalenga was appointed by one faction of the royal clan as the new king of Ondonga a few hours after Nangolo’s coronation by another faction on 14 April.
The Oluno event
The Oluno consultative meeting was chaired by senior traditional councillor Esther Nepando and was among others addressed by king-designate Kalenga, royal clan elder Selma GwaNandjokwe Shejavali and Prince Oscar Sheehama.
All the speakers insisted that Kalenga is late King Elifas’ legitimate successor and that proper procedures were followed in choosing him.
They also pointed out that Nangolo – being Kalenga’s nephew – is hierarchically lower on the line of succession and can therefore not be crowned king bypassing his uncle.
It was pointed out that, according to the Ondonga tradition, a king is succeeded by a surviving sibling. In the case of there being no surviving siblings then the next in line of succession are the king’s nephews.
It was argued that, since late King Elifas has no surviving siblings, Kalenga who is the son of Elifas’ sister, is next in line of succession.
In his short speech Kelenga said he convoked the meeting with the tribal elders to gauge their views on the way forward.
He revealed his plan of appointing a King’s advisory council and urged his subjects to prioritise peace and stability, to strive for unity to put Ondonga back on track.
Participants were in unison in blaming ordinary Aandonga for their alleged interfering “in the internal affairs of the royal clan” what caused the current leadership crisis.
Nangolo’s coronation was dismissed as irregular and invalid, but in terms of public support, Nangolo clearly has the upper hand.
The Onambango event
Addressing thousands of supporters who congregated at his Onambango residence on Saturday, Nangolo urged all his subjects to reconcile and move forward as a united people.
He urged them to “go from here, as messengers of unity and peace”.
He vowed to emulate his predecessor who led Ondonga during a difficult time but who kept his people united, welcomed and integrated people from other tribes into the Ondonga traditional community.
Nangolo admitted that occasional internal disagreements do occur within the royal clan, but expressed his happiness that such disagreements did not degenerate into violent confrontation.
“Let us forgive one another reconcile,” he said.
The Onambango event was co-chaired by John Moongo and senior traditional councillor John Walenga.
Ondonga community elder Shali Kamati delivered the welcoming remarks.
Author and retired NBC producer Angula Ndjembo spoke on the role of senior traditional councillors as king-makers.
Headman Kashona Malulu spoke on the way forward while legal practitioner Elise Angula reassured Nangolo and his crowd of supporters that, legally, they have nothing to fear as they are on the right track.
Senior traditional councillor Joseph Asino, who introduced the keynote speaker, provided the “when, how and why” late King Elifas designated Nangolo as his successor.
Informante spoke to some of Nangolo’s supporters and they were unanimous in saying that their support is an affirmation of late King Elifas’ decision. “We do not think that the late king made a mistake or contravened tradition in designating Nangolo as his successor,” they said.