We are not sleeping because of division among traditional authorities – Mbumba

Nangolo Mbumba

President Nangolo Mbumba says senior government officials are unable to sleep at night due to the incessant division among traditional authorities in the country.

Mbumba made the remarks at Keetmanshoop during a meeting with traditional authorities from the Hardap and //Kharas regions yesterday.

The president is on a four-day visit to the //Kharas region to introduce himself to traditional authorities, officiate at the University of Namibia Southern Campus graduation, visit Lüderitz to familiarise himself with the establishment of the green hydrogen and ammonia project, and to undertake a visit to Shark Island.

Mbumba said traditional authorities should not think for one moment those in senior government positions are satisfied when they see the developmental losses and animosity among tribal communities that form the basis of the ‘Namibian House’.

“You are cousin against cousin, brother against brother and sister against sister, because of these succession races for chieftainship. Don’t think that we in government enjoy you being divided. We are not sleeping well, knowing you have these problems,” said Mbumba.

There are only nine recognised traditional authorities in the Hardap and //Kharas regions.

In the //Kharas region, they are: The /Hai-/Khaua Traditional Authority, Vaalgras Traditional Authority, Blouwes Traditional Authority, !Aman Traditional Authority and Bondelswarts.

In the Hardap region, they are: The Afrikaner, Witbooi, !Khar-Khoen and Kooper Traditional Authorities.

Among these are also legal disputes that are currently in the courts, like the Witbooi and Blouwes traditional authorities, and others like the !Aman Traditional Authority that are in the process of voting for a new leadership.

Nobody in Namibia has the power to tell traditional authorities who should be their chiefs, only their own tribal communities can make that decision, said the president.

Mbumba called on the traditional leaders to ensure their children receive education up to tertiary level by encouraging the youth not to be satisfied with Grade 10 or lower education qualifications.

He said education has become more prominent in light of the establishment of the green hydrogen and ammonia industries in the country that require engineers to build and run the plants.

“This industry cannot be run by people looking after livestock or cattle herders. And we also do not want to import engineers from South Africa or Botswana to take up these jobs. We want these jobs to be taken up by your children,” said the president.

During the meeting it came to light that during the second round of scholarships for green hydrogen, few inhabitants from the Hardap and //Kharas region were successful and not a significant enough number to make a dent in the quest for inclusion of the southerners, in the industry being established at their doorstep.

However, Mbumba announced that an education fund has been established for the Hardap and //Kharas regions through which pupils can study engineering and geology, among other fields in the oil and gas industry, and be considered in the upcoming scholarship rounds.

He noted that this month, Namibia will be hosting King Philippe of Belgium, due to the strides the country has made to become a front-runner in green hydrogen and ammonia production.

This augurs well for the plans of the Conference of the Parties’ agenda to decarbonise and move more towards cleaner energy.

“These people are not coming here because of me, Mbumba. They are coming because we have the energy of the future. But when they come, you, the elders, the traditional authority leaders, must tell them to do the establishment of the industry well, because this industry should be for your children and the generations to come.

“Let’s stop doing things only for ourselves. Former president [Hage] Geingob always said whatever he is doing is not for him, but to make Namibia a better place, and he got recognition for what he did. Let us not only get recognition for carrying the surnames of our ancestors, but for what we have done in our current generation to uplift the living conditions of our people,” said the president.

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