Court orders minister to reconsider Ovambanderu leadership application

Aletha Nguvauva

The minister of urban and rural development, Erastus Uutoni, should again consider an application for the designation of the widow of the late Ovambanderu chief Munjuku II Nguvauva, Aletha Nguvauva, as traditional leader of part of the Ovambanderu community, a judge has ordered in the Windhoek High Court.

In a judgement delivered on Wednesday, judge Hannelie Prinsloo reviewed and set aside Uutoni’s decision in October 2021 to refer an application for Aletha Nguvauva to be designated as traditional leader to the president.

The judge also ordered that Uutoni should again consider the application for his approval of Aletha Nguvauva’s designation as traditional leader.

Prinsloo made the order after finding that Uutoni did not give the Ovambanderu Traditional Council and Aletha Nguvauva a hearing before he decided to refer the application for her to be officially recognised as a traditional leader to the president.

The Ovambanderu community has been split as a result of leadership disputes since the death of chief Munjuku II Nguvauva in January 2008.

Two of the late chief’s sons, Kilus Nguvauva and Keharanjo Nguvauva, were rival candidates to succeed their father as traditional leader, until Keharanjo – who was a son of Aletha Nguvauva – died aged 26 in April 2011.

Following his death, Aletha Nguvauva took his place as contender for the traditional leadership of the Ovambanderu community.
After court battles between the leadership rivals, a High Court judge ruled in October 2014 that Kilus Nguvauva should be designated as traditional chief of the Ovambanderu community.

Kilus Nguvauva died in July 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the case in which Prinsloo gave her judgement, the court was informed that the Ovambanderu Traditional Council was formed by a part of the Ovambanderu community that disassociated themselves from the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority after Kilus Nguvauva was recognised as chief of the traditional authority.

The court was also informed that an application was made in December 2016 to have Aletha Nguvauva recognised as traditional leader of a part of the Ovambanderu community in the Otjimbinde constituency in the Omaheke region, with their headquarters at Talismanus, about 200 kilometres from the headquarters of the Ovambanderu Traditional authority in the neighbouring Epukiro constituency.

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