Namibia: !aman Chieftaincy Succession Row Rages On

20 September 2019

Tension is brewing among members of the !Aman Nama sub-tribe over the choice of the rightful successor to their late chief, Dawid Frederick.

Frederick died on 12 January 2018 after a long illness at the age of 85.

The simmering succession dispute resurfaced following an announcement of the nominees by the nomination committee in a media statement issued this week.

The committee announced that Christof Boois, Cornelius 'Corrie Boy' Cloete and Johannes Fredericks were elected as candidates for the election of a new chief.

The !Aman clan will then decide on the election date at a community meeting to be announced later.

Among others, the planned meeting will also deliberate on issues regarding the registration of eligible voters for the election, as well as the installation date of the new chief.

The Frederick royal family said when reacting to the announcement that the nominees were elected in contravention of the clan's customary law, which they say clearly stipulates that "the installation of the !Aman kaptein (tribal leader) should be from the royal house's bloodline".

The royal family's spokesperson, Ruben Frederick, on Monday charged that the !Aman Traditional Authority Council (TAC) had illegally set up the nomination committee, which had spearheaded the process for the selection of chieftaincy candidates, without verifying the original bloodline of the clan's kapteins.

According to him, the nomination process was marred by controversies from the onset.

He explained that a valid objection raised by the royal family members against the setting up of the nomination committee was deliberately ignored by TAC chairperson Theofilus Swartz.

Frederick said the royal family, as mandated by customary law, has started the process of nominating a successor to the late chief Frederick.

The Namibian understands that the succession battle has also split the TAC, with one faction having endorsed the establishment of the nomination committee, while the other consisting of the royal family members argued the latter body was not mandated to speahead the clan's chieftaincy succession process.

Swartz yesterday confirmed the authenticity of the unsigned media statement, in which the three chieftaincy candidates were announced, but declined to comment further.

"All I can say is that the nomination process was done in accordance with customary law," he stated.

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