Video: Thousands of people attended the meeting in Ondangwa over the weekend. Footage: Placido Hilukilwa
THE Ondonga traditional community of Aawambo can cease to exist in its historical form if the Namibian government fails to recognise Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as late King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas’ successor.
A consultative gathering of the Ondonga community held at the Ondangwa Trade Fair Centre on Saturday has threatened to abolish the hereditary monarchical rule should government to fail to recognize Nangolo as requested by the community through its representatives.
The community meeting was convoked to once and for all resolve a protracted internal squabbling within the Ondonga Traditional Authority which morphed into a heated leadership dispute following the death of King Elifas on the 26th of March.
King Elifas was laid to rest on 13 April and a day later a faction of the royal clan and gazetted traditional councillors crowned Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as the new king.
However, a few hours later another faction of the royal clan nominated Konis Eino Kalenga as the new occupant of the late king’s throne.
The mass gathering held at Ondangwa on Saturday made it clear that failure by government to recognize Nangolo as the new king would inevitably lead to the abolishment of the monarchy in Ondonga, allowing the tribe to be led by senior traditional councillors like other Owambo tribes such as Uukwambi, Ombalantu and Uukolonkadhi.
The gathering was held at a neutral venue, the Ondangwa Trade Fair Centre, and both claimants were invited to present their views, but only Nangolo pitched up.
The minister of urban and rural development Peya Mushelenga and three regional governors – Elia Irimari of Oshana, Henock Kankoshi of Oshikoto and Usko Nghaamwa of Ohangwena – were also invited, but only Irimari turned up.
After speeches by Nangolo and Ondonga elders such as Ambassador Eddie Amkongo, Shali Kamati and Vilho Kamanya as well as a speech by a representative of the royal clan Anneli Mbumba, there followed a lively discussion before the gathering concluded that the other claimant, Kalenga, did not meet the requirements of becoming late Elifas’ successor.
One of the resolutions states: “Either the government recognises Nangolo as the new king of Ondonga or late King Elifas becomes the very last king of Ondonga.”
In his speech, the youthful Nangolo who turned out to an eloquent speaker said that the current intra-tribe squabbling would lead Aandonga nowhere.
“Whoever is wrong must be corrected so that we move forward in peace, emulating late king Elifas who was a peace-maker. He must be turning in his grave seeing how we fight amongst ourselves,” he said.
Nangolo urged Aandonga to remain calm, to reconcile and to do what is just and fair to one another.
Senior traditional councillor Vilho Kamanya narrated how Nangolo was crowned king on 14 April, fulfilling the wish of late king Elifas and doing everything according to the customary norms of Ondonga. “The next step was to do the necessary paper work including notifying government. That was done on the 15th of April,” he said.
Speaking for the royal clan, Anneli Mbumba said that the sudden nomination of Kalenga as late King Elifas’ successor came as a shock because it was never discussed in the family and the late king has already designated Nangolo as the next king.
This was echoed by Kalenga’s elder brother, Kaali, who said that his younger brother was never chosen by the royal clan as late Elifas’ successor.