President Hage Geingob is not impressed with Omaheke Governor Festus Ueitele over claims that he made tribal remarks against the dominant Ovaherero community in that region. The President has since instructed Ueitele to apologise. In an official statement released yesterday in which the order is contained, press secretary Albertus Aochamub said Geingob wrote to Ueitele and ordered him to issue a public apology. “President Hage Geingob today wrote a letter to Festus Ueitele, Governor of the Omaheke Region with regard to recent issues between the Governor and the Ovaherero community of the region,” said Aochamub. He added, “In substance, the President instructed the Governor to ‘take concrete steps to bring calm to the situation by issuing a public apology to the Ovaherero Community to restore the spirit of peace, unity and trust within the Omaheke Region’.” The apology is necessitated after recent media reports on the impasse between the Office of the Governor and the Ovaherero community. “The Head of State states in his letter to the Governor that the nation has been inundated with various stories in the media about the contentious situation that currently exists in Omaheke,” said the presidential spokesperson.
“Further, I have been made aware of certain falsehoods regarding my meeting with you on these matters and what I am alleged to have said,” Geingob purportedly said in his letter to the governor. Ueitele last month denied allegations that he is a tribalist, in the process describing the allegations as “malicious orchestrations” aimed at making the region ungovernable. Ueitele has been under fire in recent months after a video was circulated of him allegedly making tribally charged comments and contempt of the Ovaherero people who are dominant in numbers in the region. The remarks ascribed to Ueitele were recorded when he met with Chief Ditshabue of the Bakgaledi Traditional Authority, and the Governor is adamant that the conversation was recorded illegally. In a widely circulated audio recording, Ueitele allegedly told the chief that: “I don’t want to be tribal, but what I can tell you is that Hereros are the sort of people who do not respect other tribes. Hereros are backstabbers. You should be careful with Hereros.
These are the type of people who will become your friends only when they want something from you. “I as Governor of Omaheke hereby wish to make use of this opportunity to reply to these unfounded allegations and the libelous attempts made therein.
These malicious orchestrations are intended to, not only make the Omaheke Region ungovernable and cause regional political instability, but also to portray myself as Governor to that of an ignoramus in leading the ethnically and culturally diverse inhabitants of the Omaheke Region,” he said at press conference held last month in Gobabis where he pleaded innocence. Ueitele accused some of his fellow Swapo Party members of fuelling the allegations. “This whole saga emanates from intensely concerted efforts accompanied by political acrobatics by known persons with the Swapo Party structures. Since December 2015, just after the Regional and Local Authority election results, there were groups of enchanted people who have vociferously instigated the replacement of
Namibians from other communities in high positions at the expense of other communities,” he claimed at the time. The tribal agenda seems to be making its way around the country slowly but surely, a few months back, senior government officials hailing from the Zambezi Region met to discuss ways to eliminate tribalism from the region. The meeting was meant to discourage the residents of the region from practising tribalism, despite regional governor Lawrence Sampofu claiming it is so rife that even traditional chiefs and some prominent people practice it.