The Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) today handed over the government vehicle that was allocated to the traditional authority to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, after the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD) instructed the Namibian Police to confiscate the vehicle.
According to the OTA, MURD opened a case with the Namibia police.
“A case number CR23/04/22 has been opened with Namibian Police with the charge; Use of vehicle without owner consent. When asked who the owner is the police stated that the case was opened by the MURD,” said the OTA.
Daniel Nghidinua, the ministry’s executive director, confirmed the vehicle’s seizure, explaining that they had little choice because the OTA refused to cooperate for the issue to be resolved amicably.
“The Ministry was, up to this point, hoping to get the cooperation of those who are in possession of the Government vehicle to hand it over peacefully. Given the non-cooperative attitude displayed, we will take the next appropriate measures necessary to safeguard the State property. Only one vehicle was issued to OTA,” said Nghidinua.
However, in a letter to Nghidinua seen by the Observer earlier this month, Mutjinde Katjiua stated that the vehicle would stay in his custody until the dispute was concluded, following which it would be given over for repairs.
“I have agreed to bring the vehicle after the court cases are resolved; and after that your ministry shall do the necessary repair and replacement of dilapidated parts. In the meantime, the vehicle will be under my care as the paramount chief of the Ovaherero people while the matter is sub judice,” reads the letter.
High Court judge Herman Oosthuizen dismissed an urgent application by Katjiua and the OTA in April.
Katjiua, who was elected by one faction of the OTA as paramount chief, wanted the chairperson of OTA, chief Vipuira Kapuuo, not to act as though he represents the traditional authority.
Additionally, Katjiua in his urgent application also wanted to stop Kapuuo from acting on behalf of the paramount chief as well as interfering with the bank account of the authority.
Earlier this week a faction of the OTA called on the ministry to stop its attempts to impound the authority’s official vehicle.
The group also warned the MURD that they will not tolerate any interference in its affairs.
This came after the ministry did not recognise Katjiua as the Ovaherero paramount chief, while recognising Ovitoto chief Kapuuo, who is the chairperson of the chief’s council.
Additionally, the ministry also withheld the funds meant for the authority.