Community Removes Controversial Chief Kapika

The community of Epupa under the leadership of the Kapika Royal House removed their chief Hikuminue Kapika from his position on Saturday.

He was replaced by his half-brother, Mutambanda Kapika.

Kapika was removed after about 500 community members staged a peaceful demonstration against him.

They were not happy about his alleged conduct towards community members and about allegations that he had allowed work on the Baynes Hydro-power project to go ahead.

Nampa reported earlier this month that

Kapika, who controversially refused to allow the Government to proceed with the hydro-electric power project some years ago, has eight heavily-armed police officers guarding his person and homestead – the highest number of police officers ever assigned to a traditional leader in independent Namibia.

The police protection was granted to him upon a request, which the chief himself apparently made to the Namibian Police Force after alleged death threats against him.

Speaking at Epupa after the demonstration, senior traditional councillor of the Kapika Royal House Maongo Hembinda, who spearheaded the demonstration for the removal of Chief Kapika from the leadership position, said it was appropriate for the community to remove him as he was not willing to communicate with his community.

“The chief was being protected by the police due to death threats against him, and we as his subjects were not allowed to freely visit him or talk to him. He was also not ready to share with his community or his leadership whom he was being protected against,” he explained.

Hembinda was apparently also turned away from the chief’s homestead at Omurama village – about 20 kilometres south of the Epupa Falls – two weeks ago when he went there to find out who had made the death threats.

“There was no time to tell him anything as he was being protected by the police, and he chased us from his house. He refused to tell me what his problem was, and he is not ready to listen to his community or his senior councillors at all,” he added.

Hembinda indicated that for now, they have their own leader, who has served as senior traditional councillor under Chief Kapika.

Kapika should invite them to a meeting, where they can discuss the matter, he said.

“The community cannot be without a leader as the chief has abandoned us. We had to pick one person to lead the community from the six senior traditional councillors of Chief Kapika, which we felt was appropriate,” he stated.

Approached for comment, Chief Kapika countered that he is still the chief of the Kapika Royal House until the community approaches him to inform him that he was no longer their leader, and provides reasons for his removal as well.

“There are members of the community under my leadership who have never liked me as their leader since I became chief of the Kapika Royal House,” he stated.

He reiterated that he was not informed about his removal, and only heard from his ‘informers’ that the community is not happy because they were informed that he is being accused of allowing the construction of the Baynes Hydro-power project to go ahead. Allegations have apparently also been made that he has joined the Swapo Party.

“I did not sign for the construction of Baynes, and I did not join Swapo. Those are just rumours,” he noted.

He further stated that this is the fourth time his community attempts to remove him as chief of the Kapika Royal House, but this attempt will fail “just like the other three”.

Chief Kapika said he will call a meeting at Okangwati or Opuwo soon, to which he will invite the community members.

That meeting will look into the issues of his leadership and alleged removal.

Source : The Namibian