11 June 2018

Namibia: Group Pleads Not Guilty to Illegal Coronation Charges

MEMBERS of a faction in a dispute over the Bondelswart Nama sub-tribe's chieftainship have pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal coronation during their appearance in the Karasburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

The members are Johannes Matroos, Desmond Andreas, Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) commissioner Ulrich Freyer, Swapo Party backbencher Sophia Swartz, Hans Jossop, chief Seth Kooitjie of the Topnaar Nama sub-tribe and !Khara-Khoen Nama sub-clan chief Frederick Hanse.

The group will return to court for the continuation of their trial set for 6-7 September.

The charges against the group relate to the installation of Matroos as chief of the Bondelswarts clan in May 2016, despite a High Court order forbidding that move.

The High Court had ordered a stop to the coronation following an application by Hendrik Christian, and called on the respondents to explain on 9 June 2016 why the order should not be final.

However, the inauguration of Matroos proceeded at Warmbad a few hours after acting judge Collins Parker had granted the order.

Christian said in an affidavit filed with the court that the appointment of Matroos until the son of late Bondelswarts leader Josef Christiaan could take over, was irregular.

It was also charged that the group interfered with police duties, preventing police from serving the High Court order to stop the inauguration of Matroos.

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