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Treat us fairly, says Rukoro

Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority

Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, wants the Government to recognise and gazette all Ovaherero traditional councillors and ensure that the requirements to the law are fair and apply to all authorities. Rukoro stated that the Ovaherero councillors, in terms of the Traditional Authorities Act, should have been recognised in 2006. He stated that however, because of the misapplication of the law by the line Minister of Regional, Local Government and Housing and Rural Development, Charles Namoloh, the councillors remain unrecognised. He said that the Minister’s new requirements to the law relating to territorial jurisdiction are not called for in the Act.

The requirements state that a chief can only have councillors in the area where his authority is registered. Rukoro then stated that these new requirements do not apply to councillors of other traditional authorities, such as the Maharero and Zeraua of Kambazembi Traditional Authorities. “Other traditional authorities are not confined in this manner in that their councillors are gazetted in areas other than those in which their Authority is registered,” he stated, adding; “it is a discriminatory provision exclusively targeting the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, which is unlawful and a gross abuse of power in terms of our Constitution.” According to Rukoro, the Ovaherero Traditional Authority has engaged with lawyers to liaise with government attorneys, in hopes that this will avoid unnecessary litigation and persuade the line Minister to take the matters of the Authority into serious consideration. Rukoro stated that the Minister has ignored and refused to follow the advice of the Government’s own attorney-general on the matter and in the process, imposed a costly litigation on both the taxpayers and members of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority. Adding that members of the Authority are being forced to approach the courts in defence of their rights, Rukoro said that the litigation is “senseless, uncalled for, and without merit.” “It is a pity and a sad state of affairs that a single minister can openly violate the law of the land for so long,” he stated. Rukoro said that if measures are not taken to have the Ovaherero Traditional Authority members recognised by the Government, the Authority will assert their rights in terms of the provisions of the Namibian Constitution.

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