Geingob explains Damara festival snub

Contrary to media reports alleging President Hage Geingob snubbed last year's Damara festival, the Presidency yesterday insisted the President made efforts to attend the event.

In a media statement, State House press secretary Albertus Aochamub said that initially the President accepted the invitation and had confirmed to attend the festival, however at the 11th hour it was discovered Chief Justus IIGaroeb is not recognised under the relevant laws of the country as a traditional leader.

Aochamub says on that basis Geingob was unable to proceed to the planned festival.

But the Damara Chief's Council secretary general Abner Xoagub yesterday rubbished Aochamub's claims, saying that they are shocked that the Office of the President didn't even know that llGaroeb was not a recognised chief.

"I mean the government gazette is signed off by the President so for them to give us that lame excuse is uncalled for," he said.

He said prior to the Damara festival Geingob attended the Traditional Authority Council meeting at Keetmanshoop - so he should know that IIGaroeb was not part of that meeting, as he was not recognised.

Aochamub further advises advisors and leaders of the traditional authority that IIGaroeb has jurisdiction over, to file the required application with supporting documents without delay to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development so that the application can be considered.

But Xoagub said that will never happen since IIGaroeb is the Damara king and in that regard the traditional authority will not seek recognition from government since there is no provision in the Traditional Authorities Act, 2000 (Act 25 of 2000) that recognises kings, queens and paramount chiefs.

He said the Damara Kings Council is well versed with the Traditional Authority Act and the Damara Supreme Customary Law.

"We will not degrade or devalue our king to a chief to please who? Or the press secretary should first familiarize himself with the Traditional Authority Act, 2000 (Act 25 of 2000), to be able to appreciate the difference between a chief as per the Tradition Authority Act and king as per the Damara Supreme Customary Law," he said.

"The absolute majority of the Damaras do recognise and respect His Majesty lUruhe Justus llGaroeb as the incumbent King of the Damaras, and his reign is legitimized and ascertained in the self-stating Supreme Customary Law of the Damaras," he added.

He said the traditional authority is still awaiting a formal apology and directives, if any, from the Office of the President of the Republic of Namibia.

According to him all they received from the President's office was a whatsApp message last year.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia