Hambukushu chief accused of infringing on Mafwe communal area

Martin Endjala

The Mafwe Traditional Authority in the Zambezi Region has accused Chief Munika Mbambo of the Hamubukushu Traditional Authority of infringing on its communal area in the Mukwe constituency of the Kavango East Region.

This is in response to a Bafwe community group’s petition to the Zambezi Region’s governor, Lawrence Alufea Sampofu.

Glen Mutemwa read the petition on behalf of the group, calling on Sampofu to intervene before the situation escalates further.

“Recently, Chief Mbambo of the Hambukushu has been threatening the peace and stability of the Bafwe community through constant flocking to the Mafwe people (Pitorosi Kabeto of Mashosho Village, Njombana of Namushasha village, and the Kwe Community of Bwabwata) people and communities under our custody, with threats of them revealing ancestral villages where the Bafwe used to stay,” he said.

He clarified that human-wildlife conflicts (lions) and Tsetse flies, which were killing many, forced these communities to leave Bwabwata.

He claims that they presented their ancestral names to the delimitation commission under the false pretence that they were Kwe people living in core areas, after receiving land promises in Bwabwata.

Mutemwa stressed that they are constantly involved in confrontations with Chief Mbambo due to the constant overlapping of boundaries through the delimitation commission.

He accuses Mbambo of entering Bafwe territory unannounced, labelling it a tantamount insult to the Mashi Traditional authority and thus disturbing the peace and harmony of the Bafwe Community and the people of the Zambezi region.

The group cautioned the governor that the traditional authority would do whatever it takes to protect the integrity, peace, and stability of the Mafwe traditional community and everybody in its custody.

He further warned that they would go to any length to protect their people.

Adding to that, they have respected and treated the Hambukushu Traditional Authority with respect and honour; however, their patience has run out.

According to Mutemwa, the Bafwe community has promoted mutual respect between communities and other traditional authorities by respecting government regulations, which is in the country’s interest for peace and security.

According to Mutemwa, the petition is about the Traditional Authorities Act no. 25 of 2000, section 3 under section (1), subject to section 16. This law says that traditional authorities have to keep culture, language, and traditions alive and work to promote peace and welfare on their communal lands.

“Land is a precious resource that can contribute to enhancing economic growth and, therefore, human development, and land is again a very serious commodity that can lead to hostilities between and among communities if it’s not handled carefully by the state,” cautioned Mutemwa.

He argued that they have lived in harmony with the Hambukushu, Khwedam, Yeyi, Subia, Totela, Mbalangwe, and Lozi people for years and wish to maintain cordial relations.

However, he cited that the presence of different traditional authorities flocking to its territory and overlapping its boundaries will lead to an ethnic war if prompt action is not taken.

Meanwhile, when asked about the matter, the Zambezi regional governor, Lawrence Sampofu said he was not aware of such a petition from the Mafwe traditional authority and could, therefore, not comment until he received the petition.

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