President Hage Geingob yesterday urged traditional leaders not to aid the imposition of archaic cultural practices such as child marriages and child labour.
These practices, he said, enslave children to lifelong serfdom.
The President further applauded the stance of the traditional leadership fraternity against gender-based violence and urged them to continue to work with the government and law-enforcement agencies in rooting out violence, discrimination and crime in general.
He said this at the annual meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders in Gobabis yesterday.
The President was however quick to highlight the importance of culture in general, urging all citizens to uphold traditional norms and customs. He also called on traditional communities to avoid fueling and planting seeds of division and dissent.
President Geingob said it is worrisome to continue witnessing instances of factionalism and ongoing leadership disputes between communities and their leaders.
"We cannot have a situation where people suddenly want to establish distinct traditional communities and chieftainship, premised on personal motives, preference and ambitions, while all these years they have resorted under one traditional leader sharing the same customs, values, language and culture without any problem," said the Head of State.
Hundreds of traditional leaders from various traditional authorities and royal houses across the country are gathered in Gobabis for the annual council meeting.
Senior Councillor Katoma Ngavetene from the !Kung Traditional Authority shared his joy at being part of such a magnificent meeting, adding that issues such as the current drought and road infrastructure, especially the road between Grootfontein and Tsumkwe, form part of the agenda and amicable solutions to be considered.
"With drought, we are not equally affected, so we should be able to find ways of meeting one another at the point of each other's need, even if we are not from the same traditional authority."
President Geingob pictured with traditional leaders in Gobabis for the annual meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders.