OMATJETE: Supporters of Raphael Hiangungo Kapia, one of two claimants to the Zeraua Royal House throne, on Saturday lambasted Government for its handling of OvaHerero traditional matters.
Kapia, who is of the Ovakweyuva Notjipepa clan, was anointed as chief of the Zeraua Royal House at Omatjete on Saturday – a day after supporters of Manasse Zeraua, son of the late Chief Christian Eerike Zeraua, held his coronation as chief at the Zeraua Royal House at Okaumbaha village in the Daures Constituency.
The late Chief Zeraua died earlier this year, and the two clans are now embroiled in a dispute over who should take over the chieftaincy.
The late Christian Zeraua took over the chieftaincy from his uncle, Chief Kapia, following Kapia’s death in 1979. Kapia is also Raphael Kapia’s father, hence the Ovakweyuva Notjipepa clan’s argument that he should now take over as chief.
The other clan however feels that the late Zeraua’s son, Manasse, should take over as chief. Their view was also endorsed last month when Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Jerry Ekandjo in a letter announced that Government recognises Zeraua as the heir to his father’s throne.
Speaking at Kapia’s coronation on Saturday, OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako expressed dismay with Government for its alleged mixing of political issues with traditional and cultural matters.
Riruako went on the attack against Ekandjo, saying he “cannot even manage the Omaruru Town Council”, so how can he manage OvaHerero traditional matters.
He was referring to a matter in which Ekandjo in May this year ordered the Omaruru Town Council to replace its then newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Edward Ganaseb with Jeremiah Kavaa, who was found to be the best candidate for the position as he scored the highest points after interviews were conducted.
The town council however decided to appoint Ganaseb, who came in in third place for the position. Ganaseb remains the town’s CEO.
“Ekandjo can do whatever he wants. He can go ahead and recognise this person, but we know the root of this clan and the majority of this clan will coronate the rightful heir of the Zeraua Royal House,” Riruako stated, before adding that there is “no way” Ekandjo can impose a chief on the OvaHerero.
“We will not allow Government to select who will rule the OvaHerero,” he stressed.
Riruako reiterated that Kapia is the “rightful heir” as elected by the OvaHerero people, and “not the Swapo-Party”.
He also took issue with Minister of Information and Communication Technology Joel Kaapanda for allegedly prohibiting the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and English daily New Era from covering Kapia’s coronation, while “Kaapanda’s NBC” dispatched a team to cover Manasse’s coronation.
Meanwhile, the event’s master of ceremonies Verikonda Rukoro said Government is treating the OvaHerero people like slaves and as “second-hand” in their own country.
“We told the government and all parties involved to handle the chieftainship issue with care and sensitivity to avoid unnecessary disagreements and divisions. Whatever we are doing will haunt us later,” he said.
Rukoro said they declared a dispute over the chieftaincy so that all parties could “sit around one table and discuss the issue, but they went ahead with their own coronation”.
The group supporting Zeraua apparently also engaged a lawyer to ask Kapia and his supporters to refrain from using the name and logo of the Zeraua Royal House.
“The Ovakweyuva Notjipepa clan is the rightful custodian of the royal house. We will use this name and logo until a court of law pronounces differently,” he said.
Rukoro also spoke about the note written in 2009 and left behind by the late Zeraua in which he stated that the Ovakweyuva Notjipepa clan must deal with the chieftaincy, bearing in mind that “many children are born from the clan”.
“The chieftainship has to return to the Ovakweyuva Notjipepa clan. Please apply your mind and appoint the rightful heir to the throne,” reads the note.
Kapia was born to Ekonia and Alexia Kapia in Omatjete on 24 June 1957.
He is not married and is father to 11 children.