Saturday 17 April 2021
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Ondonga King succession picks up steam

A kingship squabble is brewing in Ondonga kingdom as the late king Immanuel Elifas Kauluma’s great-grandsons Oscar Sheehama and Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo fight for the throne.
Nangolo and Sheehama are said to be the heirs to the throne.
Nangolo was allegedly appointed as the king’s successor on 20 September 2002, but he was only awarded his appointment letter in 2012.
The Patriot is in possession of the letter that is said to be Nangolo’s appointment letter. The letter is dated 02 July 2012 and was addressed to the then Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Jerry Ekandjo. The letter bears the king’s signature.
Nangolo is the preferred candidate of the dismissed Ondonga Traditional Authority senior councillors, who were relieved of their positions by the late king in 2017, while Sheehama is allegedly favoured by the late king’s wife (omunyekadhi) Sesilia Elifas.
In August 2018, Sheehama told this journalist that he was not competing with Nangolo for the throne as per the perception doing its rounds in the public.
He further stated that talks that he was being elevated to the kingship were “pure garbage”.
“I was not appointed as heir as it is being assumed. I am just a member of the royal family with substantial interest of the royal family at heart and I am determined to do everything possible at my disposal to see this debacle through. This is not about Shuumbwa who is just a single individual in the institution of the royal family. I don’t care about any member of the royal family’s personal interest or desire in so far as the issue of succession is concerned, what I am caring about is the interest of the royal family, period,” he said.
He added that the dismissed councilors were vociferous and fired up because they have Shuumbwa on their neck and he erred to believe they were his kingmakers.
“The problem is that this won’t help him much even in the event where they succeed to unilaterally bulldoze his succession through, poor Shuumbwa he (sic) will lead a very polarised community which will be marred by division and all sorts of social infections and eventually, he will never enjoy a single day of his kingship because what goes around will eventually come around.
In other words, what they are doing to the sitting Omukwaniilwa (king) will eventually be done against him in the near or remote future,” Sheehama said at the time.
The Patriot understands that the two cousins might not get the kingship at all as they are two generations below the rightful heirs who can take over from the late king and if one of them has to take over.
According to an historian who is a village headman, the right person is Sheehama who is from Onethika lineage because the last three kings Paulus Elifas, Fillemon Shuumbwa Elifas and Immanuel Kauluma Elifas all came from Epale lineage, where Nangolo is from.
The late Kauluma who died this week at Onandjokwe hospital ruled Ondonga for 43 years and is the son of queen Nashikwele shaKadhikwa (Victoria Kadhikwa) who was fondly known as Kuku Palenene. Queen Nashikwele could not rule the monarchy because she was female.
Ancient Ondonga customary laws do not allow the monarch to be ruled by a woman. She nurtured her son Paulus to take over from him.
Paulus was succeeded by Fillemon who was assassinated on 16 August 1975 at Onamagongwa now Ondjondjo.
He was then succeeded by his younger brother Immanuel who ruled Ondonga since 1975 until the time of his passing. Queen Nashikwele is Nangolo’s grandmother.
Sheehama is a grandson of Kuku Nethikanene who is a sister to queen Nashikwele, thus Nangolo’s mother and the late Kauluma are siblings. Some people within the royal family believe that the issue of Onethika and Epale is in fact a non-issue.
“If you count years that either dynasty had held the throne, you will be surprised to learn that between kings Sheepo shaNamene (Kambonde kaNamene) and Martin Ashikoto who are both from the so-called Onethika dynasty, they ruled for 25 years (collectively) from 1942 to 1967 whereas, between Paulus and Fillemon who are both from the Epale dynasty, they held the throne for only for eight years from 1967 to 1975.
“The only king who ruled for quite reasonably long time, for 42 years is the current King (1976 to 2019) and whoever is advocating that doctrine of which dynasty should follow after the sitting the king is mistaken and most probably holds some envy about the length of king Kauluma’s tenure and not the question of one dynasty to have clinched to the throne longer than another.
“The Ondonga customs and rules that govern the succession are well established and the king-making process doesn’t consider the dynasty setting as the ultimate determining factor.
“It doesn’t really matter where the king should come from, either from Epale or Onethika as long as the king-making process is transparent and left only to the authorised persons to execute without any greed or self-serving extraneous factors, the Ondonga king will be made through those customary processes and protocols and this has always been the case,” the person with knowledge said.
Contacted for comment on Wednesday, Nangolo ended the call when the journalist introduced himself requesting for a text message but did not respond to two text messages sent to his mobile. Sheehama also did not respond to a text message.
Commenting on the succession debate, University of Namibia Oshiwambo lecturer Dr Petrus Mbenzi said traditionally the succession is decided by elders within the royal family.
Sheehama is the headman of Ondonga village, the traditional palace of king Nangolo dhaAmutenya who was reputedly one of the greatest founding royal kings according to Ondonga history.
Sheehama was installed as that village’s headman by late Kauluma in October 2014.
He is also a former chief inspector in the Namibian Police force and a lawyer by profession.
While Nangolo has been the late king’s personal aide, he is also an official within the Namibia Defence Force.
Asked who is going to be the next king, an elder in the Ondonga royal family, Leonard Nekuyu said he does not have any information regarding that.
“If you want know who the next king is, come to Owambo,” said his daughter who spoke on his behalf.

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