Amid factions and tribal clashing delays government programs of development
By Simon Liseli and Risco Lumamezi
A war of words among the descendants of Induna Sikosinyana has divided the community of Sibbinda , after Chief George Simasiku Mamili VII recognised Induna Phellem Mutwangele Mbozi as Induna Sikosinyana in November 2020.
The conflicts broke-out in early 2020 after the demise of the late Timothy Maano who was the Induna.
The grandchildren of the late first induna Sikosinyana, now the July and Mahunga families who both claim to be the rightful families to succeed the indundaship chair have created factions, as all have been using the same khuta as tribal leaders.
A concerned Mr.Lawrence Mahunga who claims to be Induna Sikosinyana told Caprivi Vision that May 31, 2020 Mahunga family gathered at a certain point and chose him, and after being elected as Induna, arrangements were made to meet their local khuta and three people from his side were selected to carry out that task, the khuta was consulted and both families agreed to gather on 19 July 2020 to make the final decision but July family did not turn-up only the Mahunga family gathered.
According to Mr. Mahunga after their gathering, July family summoned them at Chinchimani palace and letters were written to both families to report themselves at Chinchimani.
On August 3, 2020 they went to report, Dr. John Lilemba and others from July family were the first to be called inside the Khuta as complainants and raised their complaints by explaining of what happened at Sibbinda without consulting them as a serious concern.
“The references or reasons that they gave to the khuta were that they cannot be led by a young family that has only four (4) villages out of nineteen and ruled to a person who is not educated adding that Sikosinyana is a foreigner. Lilemba also told the khuta that Namibia as a democratic country people are free to choose the leader they want” explained Mahunga.
Mr. John Muntande who represented Mahunga family was called inside after Lilemba has raised their concerns, Muntande told the khuta that they won’t allow July family to take over their seat because it belongs to them and are the one to decide who to take it.
Mr. Mahunga further more divulged that arguments broke out inside the khuta, Ngambela and Natamoyo (Chief’s advisor) adviced both families to go back and vote as the only decision to find the lasting solution.
“We as Mahunga family we refused to vote because the Chair is ours and we won’t do that, we don’t know who informed the Chief because as it was happening we just saw the Ngambela going outside to answer the phone, after the call when he came back he told us that the issue is already with the Chief so we have to go back and prepare in 2 days time and come back to meet at Kashandi (Chief’s private room)where the decision will be taken” he said.
On Kashandi day both families meet but still the issue did not have a solution by the Chief and they were again adviced to go and solve it themselves. Mahunga claimed that July family did not want to compromise.
Asked who is the current recognised Induna, Mahunga said “I told you already that Phelem Mutwangele of July family is currently recognised as Induna Sikosinyana of Sibbinda subjects”.
He added that Mutwangele is not a family member of Sikosinyana and Mahunga family who claims to be Sikosinyana were supposed to seat down and elect an Induna to take over the Chair “And it’s me as am talking now who was supposed to take that Chair because my grandfather Sikosinyana follows my grandmother who gives birth to my father and for now we have appealed to Chinchimani because the Chair is ours and when it was given to Mutwangele we were not consulted” he lamented.
However, the current recognised Induna Phelem Mutwangele Mbozi explained that on January 1, 2021 they had a ceremony of welcoming him as an appointed and recognised as the only Induna Sikosinyana. He lamented that since his recognition as Induna conflicts started with Mahunga family.
“Last year around October we were called by the Chief at Mafwe Royal Establishment, at Chinchimani where the Chief told us that there will be no two Indunas at Sibbinda, only me who is recognised by Chinchimani Khuta will rule until I resign willingly and I don’t know what is in heads of those people because when the Chief was talking, they were present in Kashandi” explained Induna Mutwangele.
He said on October 27,2020 was the day when he was elected as an Induna by Sibbinda subjects where more than 140 people met with two Indunas from Chinchimani Khuta. The Namibian police were also present and one man from Mahunga family came to the gathering and told them that there was no election and destroyed the ballot boxes that were provided for votes.
“What surprises me was that police were there but did not do anything for election to continue peacefully” he noted.
The Induna denied of good relation between the two families as he is the only one recognised by Chinchimani Khuta.
“My self I succeeded the late in that Khuta am currently ruling, Mahunga family even when they do what they where will they take it? Because they are not recognised” he questioned.
Asked on developments that he has achieved so far since he took over the power, he had nothing to say as they are no development that he has brought to the community.
“These Mahunga family have disrupted some development that we asked when I came in, we wrote a letter requesting for a district hospital but they disrupted, a mini police station same thing and now we are waiting to hear how they will say about development centre but what I know they will deny it” remarked Induna Mutwangele.
He pointed out that “on 14 November 2022, NBC Ňywanyi FM came to the Khuta to record the program called Zambezi Buikumuso bwaka meaning Zambezi my pride. Interviews with some Indunas went well but after it was recorded someone from Mahunga family went to siLozi NBC Radio Station at Katima Mulilo and stopped them not to play the program they recorded at Sibbinda on air with the reason that Indunas who were interviewed and recorded are not the rightful people to release any information to the public on behalf of the Khuta.
Contacted for comments as he was accused by Mahunga family for instigating the installation of the new induna, Professor John Makala Lilemba, a historian and academician and also a grandson of Sikosinyana from his mother’s side, stressed that in 1909 when German came Induna Sikosi Kuangamiza Mutokwa was found married to two wives, one at Sikaunga, called Teeba and the other one at Sibbinda was called Nachilimwe that made it hard for Germans to get him and they were not prepared to work with female family.
He said, they took a certain Ziambo from Katongo in western Zambia who ruled and when he died, he wanted to give power to a certain Mwinga in families at Nampengu but his nephew Saiti Mubyana was not prepared. As people realised that Saiti was in need of that position, he became an Induna who ruled up to 1986 and gave the Chair to his son to continue ruling but failed and it was given to Ziambo’s son who also failed.
Mr. Saite Mubyana told people to vote for Induna of their choice and Mr. Saimon Malumbano scored more votes but Saiti called Mr. Mazumo Kabika who got the least votes to take over with the reason that he was taking back the Chair to the rightful owner.
“When Mazumo died Mr. Mutwangele was supposed to succeed but unfortunately he was in prison and I was also one of the candidates to our mother’s family, they even went to ask for me from my father who also accepted, on April 19, 2011 I was supposed to take-over the power but I realised that family and the late Thaddeus Nyeliso who was the Ngambela to Mazumo with Richard Mulindilwa threatened that if am succeeding they will pull-out from the Khuta and join Mayuni” explained Prof. Lilemba.
According to prof. Lilemba that was something he didn’t like to happen for the Khuta to break-out, “I then refused, Nyeliso was appointed Induna with other factions but that was not a problem, where the problem came was to who to succeed the late Timothy Maano is where other factions came” he noted.
He pointed out that Mahunga family elected themselves in their court yards while people were prepared to elect an Induna of their choice. He recalled that they brought in people from Nampengu and some families at Makanga, who later imposed Timothy Maano.
“We complained to the Khuta and we agreed without problems, but a crucial period now is, when I came from Zambia in 2020 is where the problem started, we agreed of Maano despite that he was imposed” said Lilemba.
He explained that when he came back from Zambia where he was working, Mr. Peacemaker Kashala told him about what happened of imposing Maano without consulting others that it will repeat if they won’t take it seriously. Because Lilemba was rushing to Windhoek to told some Indunas to elect the area Induna because it was quite some time without the Induna.
“When I returned from Windhoek, I found still nothing happened, I decided to consult elder people on the way forward, they all agreed but said we should first consult our Khuta. The Khuta was consulted and agreed to meet on 7-8 July 2020 where we agreed again that people should meet on July 22, 2020 to elect the Induna, while we were doing that, the other faction by May 31 gathered at Nukwa and on 19 July they introduced their Induna before the agreed date and some of the members from the same faction threatened to kill people if it won’t go as they wanted” Prof. Lilemba stressed.
He also divulged that on July 22, the agreed date, they requested the police to come as they were some threats and Chinchimani Khuta sent two representatives, as people were still preparing to vote one member from Mahunga family destroyed two ballot boxes and nothing happened.
He mentioned that there are no two Indunas at Sibbinda because Chinchimani Khuta already gave its ruling and Mutwangele is the recognised Induna Sikosinyana.
Lilemba clarified that he does not see any wrong doing committed by the current Sibbinda Induna saying despite allegations levelled against the designated Sibbinda Induna Mutwangela, a former Caprivi High Treason prisoner who was found not guilty by the high court of Namibia, he is entitled to hold any position in the public domain in order to contribute to the development of the country.
“After the ruling, Mahunga family started saying Phellem is a rebel but the Chief warned them to put that issue aside and even gave them an example of Dr. Joseph Muchali who was involved in the issue of secession but is currently working in the office of the president.”
“Those people even took me to their lawyer with a summon of more than ten pages and some words in it are just hatred and I didn’t tell any person of not educated, what they should have done those people is to bring three from their family and three from ours and meet together to vote, in a democratic country like Namibia” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Mafwe Ngambela (Premier) Boniface Lukopani Maemeko confirmed to Caprivi Vision that Induna Phellem Mutwangele is the recognised Induna.
“There is only one Induna at Sibbinda not two we only know the one who was given the walking stick of authority not any other one” said Mafwe Ngambela.
Asked what he could say on factions that are taking place at Sibbinda he said, “I cannot comment anything on factions that are there, if you want come to Chinchimani where am working” he invited.
Sibbinda Constituency Councillor Mickey Lukaezi confirmed that factions are there in Sibbinda and this makes it difficult for his office to deliver services to the people, he said his office will continue working together with the current induna who was recognised by Chief Mamili.