Breaking News - 2nd November 2022
Presidency Hands Nyemba Hot Potato To Uutoni
By Courtesy of News - National | 2022-11-02 Page no: 6 By
|The Vanyemba People Protest For
Their Rights In Namibia
|The Vanyemba People Submission
of The Petition To The Government of Namibia
THE Office of the President has referred a petition in which
a group of Nyemba-speaking people asked president Hage
Geingob to help them to get their language broadcast on
Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) radio to minister of
urban and rural development Erastus Uutoni.
comes after the Nyemba-speaking community, in a petition
handed to the Kavango East Regional Council on Friday, asked
for their language to be for accommodated broadcasting.
“The issue has been referred to the minister of urban
and regional development for consideration and engagement
with the concerned community,” State House spokesperson
Alfredo Hengari yesterday said.
Uutoni yesterday said
he was attending a Cabinet meeting, but his office would
respond as soon as it has information on the matter.
“It is difficult to comment on something you don't know
anything about,” he said.
Questions sent to the NBC
were not responded to at the time of going to print.
The petition to Geingob was drafted in an attempt to
preserve the group's culture and heritage, the group said on
“Failure to meet our demands will result in
legal action,” Elia Tapalo, who read the petition on behalf
of the group, said on Friday.
“We pledge that our
request still stands to allow us in airing our language on
NBC Radio Wato. Please be certain, Mr President, that the
Nyemba-speaking people came a long time ago, and they are
the majority, especially in the two Kavango regions . . ,”
The group is also demanding a task force to
investigate the matter and to provide a forum to help find
an amicable solution to the issue.
language on radio will provide the Vanyemba people with the
freedom to enjoy, practise, profess, maintain and promote
their culture, language, traditions or religion subject to
the terms of the Namibian Constitution,” Tapalo said.
He said the Nyemba-speaking community wants to make it
clear that the issue of traditional jurisdiction and
chieftainship is different from the language issue.
Vanyemba committee has brushed off the perception that the
recognition of their language would disturb the peace and
stability of the country.
“We are aware that the
people disturbing the peace and stability of our region are
the two governors of the Kavango East and Kavango West
regions, their traditional authorities, and political
“We would like to make it categorically
clear that airing our language on NBC Wato does not disturb
the peace, nor will it disturb or interfere with other
Namibian spoken languages at all,” Tapalo said.
meeting was held on 16 September to discuss the issue.
In attendance was minister of infomation and
communication technology Peya Mushelenga, Kavango East
governor Bonifatius Wakudumo, the five traditional
authorities in both regions, as well as the NBC board and
some staff members.
The meeting, however, took place
in the absence of the concerned group, and the regional
leadership and traditional authorities rejected the proposed
“This means they were giving incorrect
information to the minister and the entire NBC staff, thus
the information collected was from one side, and the reason
why our language leaders were not called to the meeting
remains unknown to us,” Tapalo said.
He said the
programme was blocked to prevent the Nyemba community from
exercising their right to freedom of speech.
chief regional officer Ludwig Thikusho received the petition
to be handed to the chairperson of the regional council,
Damian Maghambayi, who was then tasked to hand it to Geingob
The Vanyemba people of Namibia are part of the Mbunda Nyemba
group who migrated from the now Angola in varying
circumstances as one of the various groups originating from
the Mbunda ethnic group during the Mbunda migration from the
confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers, now forming pert of
the Bandundu Province in the Congo (DRC).
These groups are recognised as Vanyemba in Namibia. These
are similar challenges the Mbunda are facing in Western
Province of Zambia, where among others, their rights to
Culture, Tradition and Customs are being stifled.