URBAN and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga says he had followed the law when he recognised Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as the legitimate king of the Aandonga.
The Ondonga Traditional Authority has had two kings since 14 April 2019 - Konisa Kalenga nominated by a faction of the Ondonga royal family as King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas' successor, and Nangolo, who was backed by the Ondonga Traditional Authority.
The royal family declared Kalenga (55) the designated omukwaniilwa of Aandonga on 14 April, the day the traditional authority leaders also crowned Nangolo.
Nangolo's faction forced Mushelenga to rule on who should be king by using the Traditional Authorities Act, which makes provision for a petition to be drawn up by members of a traditional authority in case of a dispute, which can then be handed to the line minister for action.
He made the ruling in a letter to Nangolo yesterday in response to an application for recognition by Nangolo dated 15 April 2018.
"I am hereby notifying you as per the provision of Section 5 (2) of the Traditional Authorities Act, (No. 25 of 2000) that I have approved the application to designate Nangolo as chief/head of the Ondonga Traditional Community, to succeed the late chief Elifas, who passed away on 26 March 2019," the minister wrote.
Mushelenga yesterday told The Namibian that he was under no obligation from the law to write to the faction supporting Kalenga that their nomination has not been accepted.
"That has never happened. You only write to the one who has been recognised. You approve and respond in writing," the minister explained.
Mushelenga likened the situation to that of a job application where unsuccessful candidates are not informed that the position has been filled, and that they did not get it.
"When you apply for a position and you do not get in... you do not get an unsuccessful message," he said.
The minister has also asked the traditional authority that he be informed of the date, time and place of installation in writing to enable him to attend the event.
"Kindly notify me as required by law to enable us to complete the recognition process," he wrote.
Selma Shejavali, a spokesperson of the faction backing Kalenga, told The Namibian yesterday that she is still to get a formal response.
Shejavali has in the past maintained that according to tradition, it is the elders of the royal family who are authorised to designate a successor upon the death of a king.
She pointed out that such a successor must be chosen from the next generation of heirs-apparent. This, Shejavali said, was done when they designated Kalenga as king. Ondonga Traditional Authority spokesperson Joseph Asino yesterday could not contain his excitement, saying they have been expecting such an outcome, knowing very well that they followed all the rules and procedures.
"This is a victory for us. We could see the difference between the truth and the lies," Asino said.
According to the 2014 Government Gazette, Nangolo is recognised as an Ondonga traditional councillor, while Elifas was listed as the king.
Last year in October, Nangolo wrote to Mushelenga, informing him that he had accepted his nomination by Elifas as heir-apparent.
Nangolo had also pointed out that he will be working with the gazetted traditional leaders, and not those appointed when Elifas was incapacitated by illness.