Gobabis — Fifty-two recognised traditional authority chiefs started gathering in Gobabis, Omaheke region, yesterday for the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders, which begins today.
Currently, each of the 52 traditional leaders receives N$2 376, while senior traditional councillors each gets N$2 112 and ordinary traditional councillors get a monthly allowance of N$1 848.
President Hage Geingob is expected to officiate at the event.
The President was expected back in the country yesterday from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he handed over the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) chairpersonship to his counterpart Tanzanian president John Magufuli at the 39th Sadc Ordinary Heads of State and Government Summit.
The chiefs' meeting, which starts today and ends Friday, will discuss, among others, the impact of sand mining in communal areas and procedure on the establishment of concession committee, benefit of the traditional authorities from mining activities within their areas of jurisdiction.
They will also discuss problems relating to stock theft, drug abuse and other crimes in the country as well as how traditional authorities can better support the work of the Namibian police.
Furthermore, the meeting will discuss the causes of disputes among traditional authorities and how to minimise them.
Geingob, during a town hall meeting, told traditional leaders to stop flooding State House with their disputes and rather solve their squabbles using the existing traditional justice system.
"Tradition is good, but if tradition cannot solve the problems, if the culture that we are praising ourselves for cannot solve things in traditional way, why do I have to sit at State House and deal with traditional squabbles... recognition, non-recognition," Geingob asked.
He said there are traditional ways of solving problems but still he has to spend about 30 percent of his time dealing with traditional squabbles at State House.
"You have traditional ways of solving things but everybody is coming to State House. Why? What happened to the traditional way of solving problems? All tribes in Namibia [are] ever fighting. Is State House the court? What happen to the culture?" he wanted to know.
Similarly, Geingob advised traditional leaders not to call themselves chiefs and kings but to rather stick to their traditional names such as Ombara, Gaob and Omukwaniilwa - which all carry the same meaning.
"Chiefs and kings are a problem because we don't seem to realise that we have a republic here. That is why I said instead of people calling themselves kings, we must use vernacular names such as Ombara and others."
"Republic is not a kingdom," he emphasised.