18 December 2012

Namibia: Zeraeua Chieftaincy Fight Goes to Court

Windhoek — The fight over the Zeraeua chieftaincy has shifted to the High Court with the Ovakueuva no Tjipepa clan submitting a review application last Friday, over government's recognition of Manasse Zeraeua as their chief.

The clan has cited the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development as first respondent for recognising Zeraeua, along with the Zeraeua Traditional Authority and Manasse Zeraeua as the second and third respondents, respectively. The matter, however, will only be heard next year.

"We are looking at the first quarter of next year," said Secretary of the Ovakueuva no Tjipepa clan, Manfred Rukoro.

The recognition took place when Jerry Ekandjo was the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development. Ekandjo is now the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture. Retired Major General Charles Namoloh is now the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development.

Secretary of the Ovakueuva no Tjipepa clan Rukoro supports rival chief Raphael Kapia.

The court is being asked to review the decision to recognise Zeraeua as the chief. Lawyer Kaijata Kangueehi of Hengari, Kangueehi and Kavendjii is representing the clan.

The applicants say the installation of Zeraeua as their chief did not follow due process. They also claim that it is the prerogative of the Ovakueuva no Tjipepa clan to nominate the next chief just as the late Christiaan Eerike Zeraeua was nominated in 1979. "He did not state that his son should take over automatically," maintains Rukoro.

Kapia claimed the chieftaincy after government had already recognised Zeraeua as chief in September this year. Rukoro says Zeraeua already indicated who his successor is in a note written in 2009.

"If a dispute arises, the minister is empowered to appoint an investigation committee to look into the dispute," Rukoro said, adding that if the matter cannot be resolved amicably, the option of an election is also available in accordance with the Traditional Authorities Act.

The Ovakueuva no Tjipepa clan accuse the government of meddling in their traditional affairs by endorsing Zeraeua as their chief, even though Kapia has also submitted a letter to the government for recognition. However, the clan supporting the installation of Zeraeua as chief, led by the chairperson of the Zeraeua Traditional Authority, Hivirikee Uaseuapuani has continuously praised the government for its decision to recognise the chieftaincy of Zeraeua.

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