Appointments made on merit – OTA

• BY MARX ITAMALO

THE senior council of Uukwanambwa district in the Ondonga traditional authority (OTA) Vilho Kamanya said the traditional authority does not discriminate when it comes to making appointments like senior headmen, village headmen/ women.

Kamanya was speaking at the crowning of businessman Martin Shipanga as headman of Onandjamba village last Saturday. Onandjamba village falls under the Uukwanambwa district of which Kamanya is senior councillor.

“There is a perception amongst our people that the traditional authority is only appointing business people and influential individuals in these positions. That is a totally misplaced idea. When we appoint people we look at leadership qualities and how those individuals will lead and develop their communities. Not because of what they do or what they have,” he pointed out.

According to Kamanya, the OTA comprises of many villages headed by ‘normal’ or ‘average’ citizens and thus the recent appointments of business people or politicians should not be viewed as a discriminatory exercise.

He further pointed out that as of now, there are about 80 villages in the traditional authority without leaders and thus those who find themselves with a leader should consider themselves fortunate.

“You that are here today, the residents of this village ought to consider yourselves lucky that a leader is given to you today. There are those living in villages without leaders and they are not getting services as you are going to get after the crowning of Mr Shipanga. Therefore consider yourselves very lucky that are you are getting a leader today,” he stressed whilst imploring the residents to work together and support Shipanga and his team in the execution of their duties.

On his part, Shipanga promised villagers that he will bring development to the village. He also called on the residents of the village to work together with him and those who will be assisting him.

“I vow here before you that I shall do my best to ensure that development comes to Onandjamba. In September, I already met some village elders and plans to bring water to the village are already at an advanced stage,” he said.

His appointment comes three weeks after another high profile installation of a businesswoman in November as a village head. Windhoek-based businesswoman Martha Namundjembo-Tilahun was installed by Ondonga king Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo as head of Ohailombo village on November 20. Her late parents previously headed the village.

Following her installation, there had been a public outcry from some residents of Ondonga who accused the traditional authority of appointing only influential people in key positions such as those of senior councilors, headmen and headwomen. Another accusation was also that many of these appointed leaders rule in absentia as they resided elsewhere rather than in villages they were supposed to lead.

A resident of Onandjamba, Simson Nakale welcomed the appointment of Shipanga. “Our village has been without a leader for two years. We were suffering because we had to get assisted at a neighbouring village. Now that Mr Shipanga is our headman, things will be easy for us,” he pointed out.

Another villager Nangula Shimbilinga also expressed gratitude at the appointment of the businessman. “To me it means development for our village. I hear water shall be coming soon and that will be a good thing. I also want him to establish a market here so we don’t need to travel far for shopping,” he stressed.

Shipanga owns the Shipanga Group which has interests in manufacturing, retail, media, pharmaceuticals and construction among others. Senior traditional leaders, business personalities and politicians graced the occasion.