OKOMBAHE, 08 APR – The !Oe-#Gan traditional community in Okombahe on Saturday elected an eight-member interim committee to take over leadership from Chief Immanuel /Gaseb.
The members are Gruzi Goseb, Edward Rheis, Roman Guiseb, Willmina Guriras, Lautha Ganaseb, Lucky Gurirab, August /Awaseb and Edelgard !Gaoseb.
They were elected in front of more than 100 community members at the local stadium.
/Awaseb is the chairperson of the committee which will be guided by the elders council of the !Oe-#Gan Traditional Authority as they prepare to take the legal route to remove /Gaseb from his position and elect a new chief.
Speaking to Nampa after their election, /Awaseb said the committee has six months to prepare and elect a new chief.
He also noted that the committee will take over the affairs of the traditional authority until a new chief is elected as they no longer recognise /Gaseb as their chief.
/Gaseb is accused of maladministration which involves not holding council and community meetings for the past 17 years and allegedly not consulting the community before availing communal land to private business owners.
He also stands accused of not providing audited financial reports to the community.
/Awaseb said for the past five years, they have been trying to deal with the matter by informing Government, but there was apparently no satisfactory response.
“We are tired and decided to do what we can to get rid of him and have a new leader who will work with us. This will be done legally,” he said.
He said the majority of the community wants the chief replaced and this is based on views collected during several consultations.
“Within the six months, we will also carry out extensive consultations with members of the community across the Erongo Region.”
He further noted that the chief never responded to the letter they sent him informing him that they lost confidence in him and that he must step down by 31 March 2018.
“With or without response from the chief and Government we will ago forward, we do not need any permission from anybody to do this as long as we follow the law,” /Awaseb said.
The customary laws of every community guides such a community on when and how to remove the chief, provided there are sufficient reasons to do it.
The Traditional Authorities Act, No. 25 of 2000, also says a community can remove their chief in accordance with their customary law.
The same Act states that if a chief has been removed with sufficient reason, the regional government minister, in this case of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, must inform the President of such a removal in writing.
After receiving the detailed notice, the President is expected to recognise the removal by proclamation in the Gazette.