Ekonghola residents protest against new headman appointment

Community members of the Ekonghola village in the Ombulu district of Okongo held a peaceful demonstration on Thursday, denouncing the appointment of a hand-picked headman for their traditional authority. The group marched from Shell Ondangwa to the Ondonga Traditional Authority office at Oluno, where they handed over a petition. The Ondonga Traditional Authority has appointed Sylvanus Elago as the new headman of Ekonghola village following the death of Antonius Nghilongwa in 2021. Elago was expected to be inaugurated on 21 November 2023. Handing over the petition, spokesperson Aune Gabriel said they do not want Elago, who is currently appointed to head the village to be their leader, to be inaugurated. Community members claim he is not from Ekonghola and does not know the needs of the community. Gabriel indicated that the late Nghilongwa nominated three people who could replace him in the event of his death, and these were not considered. According to Gabriel, the Traditional Authorities Act of 2000 sti pulates that a headman/woman should be elected by residents and should be a permanent resident in the village, which means Elago is not suitable to lead them. 'The appointed candidate does not have a house in Ekonghola apart from a cattle post that he has in the village and is not a permanent resident, meaning he does not qualify for the headman post,' she said. Gabriel stated that Namibia is governed by laws which give people the right to vote for whom they want to be led by. She then called on the Ondonga Traditional Authority councillors to discuss the matter without taking sides, for the interest of the people. The group gave the traditional authority until 22 November to respond to their request. Accepting the petition, Lot Kasamane, second in charge in the Ondangwa District for the Ondonga Traditional Authority, assured the demonstrators that their petition would be forwarded to the right authority to deal with the matter. However, Kasamane told the demonstrators that it might take time for the gr oup to get a response. Source: The Namibian Press Agency