KAPAKO: The Mbunza Traditional Authority chieftaincy dispute has resurfaced after the group contesting incumbent Chief Alphons Kaundu’s appointment as a leader took their fight to the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development.
The traditional authority is embroiled in a chieftainship dispute involving incumbent Mbunza Chief Kaundu and Esther Nankali Mbambo, a great-granddaughter of the late Chief Mate zaKatanga.
Mbambo’s supporters wrote a letter, dated 27 September 2012, to the ministry, applying for Mbambo’s recognition as chief.
Regional and Local Government Minister Jerry Ekandjo responded that they should send two representatives to the Council of Traditional Leaders’ (CTL) annual general meeting to state their case there.
That meeting was held at Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi Region last week.
The letter was also referred to the Council of Traditional Leaders in terms of Section 5 (3 and 4) of the Traditional Authorities’ Act No. 25 of 2000.
Engelberth Mbambo, spokesperson of the group supporting Mbambo, told Nampa on enquiry Monday that during the CTL meeting last Thursday, they made a presentation on the history of the Mbunza royal family, as well as on how the incumbent chief (Kaundu) was ‘dubiously’ crowned as chief.
The group is now awaiting a response from that council.
Mbunza Traditional Authority Secretary Dagobert Mukoya also confirmed the dissident group’s presentation, saying they did so in the presence of Chief Kaundu and some of his senior councillors.
Mukoya, however, maintained that according to documents in his possession on the Mbunza royal family history, Chief Kaundu is a royal family member by bloodlines.
The Mbambo supporters were stopped early this year by the Government Attorney from going ahead with their planned coronation of the new chief.
Mbambo was supposed to ascend the throne on 31 March this year, but Government Attorney employee Licory Frederick stopped them from proceeding.
In a letter dated 20 January 2012 and addressed to the Mbunza dissidents, Frederick informed them that the planned coronation was unlawful.
She stated that the incumbent chief is legally recognised by President Hifikepunye Pohamba as chief of the Mbunza Traditional Authority in terms of the Traditional Authorities’ Act 25 of 2000.
The dissident group was also informed that it is unlawful to demand that Kaundu recuses himself from all activities within the Mbunza Traditional Authority, and that there are legal procedures to be followed when a chief may be removed from office.
“Chief Kaundu was not removed from office, according to law. Thus, he will remain as chief of the Mbunza Traditional Authority until he is lawfully removed from office.
Furthermore, only lawfully-recognised chiefs may perform the duties and exercise the power of a chief,” stressed the Government Attorney at the time.
Kaundu is the ninth chief of the Mbunza Traditional Authority, following the death of his late uncle, Chief Frans Haingura in 2000.