Shuumbwa wants Amalwa to pay for OTA lawsuit

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

THE Ondonga Traditional Authority chief Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo has asked the High Court to compel government attorney Mikka Asino and senior Ondonga traditional councilors (OTA)Naeman Amalwa to pay the cost of the legal bill incurred by them in the name of the OTA.

Shuumbwa argued that Amalwa had no authority whatsoever to file lawsuits on behalf of OTA or the late Omukwaniilwa Immanuel Kauluma Elifas. Thus, he should pay the costs of his application.

Government attorney Asino is said to have instructed Shikongo Law Chambers last year to act on behalf of the OTA. Amalwa then filed an application last year in a bid to stop seven previously suspended senior traditional councillors from bringing the late Ondonga chief Elifas to court to answer whether he had indeed dismissed his senior councillors.

Confidente could not yet confirm the total cost of the suit.

Although Amalwa, who has been reappointed as Oniimwandi district senior traditional councillor by Nangolo, has indicated that he no longer wishes to proceed with the case, Nangolo stated that Amalwa was not appointed deputy to Omukwaniilwa Elifas, because in terms of Ondonga tradition deputy to Omukwaniilwa must be of royal lineage and must be capable of succeeding him.

“Naeman Amalwa is not a member of the Ondonga royal family. On the basis thereof, I had asked that the application be dismissed with costs,” Nangolo said.

The resolution to bring the application to court was supposed to be signed by the chairperson of council, Vilho Kamanya, but this was apparently not done. “The resolution was signed by only three gazetted councillors. There are ten district councillors that should have signed the resolution. Six districts are required to constitute a majority. In this respect Naeman Amalwa was not authorized to bring the application on behalf of OTA.”

The new chief further stated that the OTA structure, which suspended senior traditional councillors in 2017, was an illegal authority established in contravention of the Traditional Authority Act, 2005.

Naeman Amalwa was never mandated by OTA in his capacity as senior traditional counsellor, nor was he authorized by the late Omukwaniilwa Elifas to launch any of these applications, as he had asserted. “I pray that the application be dismissed with costs and such costs to be carried by the deponent Amalwa in his personal capacity,” Nangolo stated.

The chief said Amalwa approached him recently to consider taking over these matters and to instruct Shikongo Law Chambers to withdraw the applications, but the chief refused to do so.

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“During the discussion with Naeman Amalwa, he informed me that Shikongo Law Chambers is instructed by Matti Asino of the Government Attorney to act on behalf of the second applicant (OTA).

Despite diligent search in the records of OTA, I was unable to find any instructions to the Government Attorney to represent OTA in any legal proceedings. OTA cannot withdraw this application because it did not bring the application, nor can it be ordered to pay the costs of these applications which are unauthorized by it.

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OTA has no interest in these proceedings at all.

“The office of OTA is restored and is reconstituted as a result of my designation as Chief. Mr Amalwa is still a senior councillor in accordance with custom and tradition of Ondonga community. The respondents in this application are currently traditional councillors of OTA and have to date incurred costs, in their personal capacity, to defend these unfounded” allegations.

“In his affidavit of 6 September 2019, Mr Amalwa states that he no longer wishes for the applications to be pursued. He was the one who brought the applications (supported by the signatories to the resolution referred to above) and as such, he must be held liable for the costs of not pursuing them.

“I therefore pray that he bears the costs of the two applications, including the costs of these proceedings, such costs to include costs of one instructed and one instructing counsel. Alternatively, the Government Attorney or Mr Asino personally, must bear the cost of these applications.”