Urban and Rural Development Minister Erastus Uutoni has reiterated the need for communities and their traditional leaders to use the correct traditional titles when referring to traditional leaders.

According to the minister, the increased usage of the terms “king” and “queen” in reference to traditional leaders is constitutionally and legally incorrect, according to Section 11 of the Traditional Authorities Act, 2000 (Act 25 of 2000).

“What the provision means is that reference to a traditional title such as Ohamba, Hompa, Ombara, Omukwaniilwa, Gaob, Nkosi, and Fumu, among others, is within the Act."

Uutoni made these remarks on Monday during the official opening of the 24th Annual Meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders taking place in Swakopmund, saying, however, that reference to King or Queen is inconsistent with the Constitution of Namibia, which established a Republic State, meaning that kingdoms are not recognised.

The minister therefore recommended that members of traditional communities and leaders use these terms in local languages, even when speaking English, to ensure that traditional titles are not diluted or enhanced.

Uutoni stressed that the government, on its part, will continue to promote deeper harmonisation of customary law and the role of traditional authorities as part of the governance structures of the country.

Meanwhile, Erongo Governor Neville Andre Itope emphasised the vital role played by traditional authorities all over the country in preserving cultural identity, maintaining social cohesion, and providing a link between the government and local communities.

Itope noted that they often contribute to conflict resolution, community development, and the overall well-being of their people, while their historical and cultural knowledge is crucial for sustainable development and effective governance.

"This annual meeting therefore serves as a crucial platform for you, as traditional leaders, to share experiences, exchange knowledge, and discuss challenges faced within your respective communities. It is through collaboration and dialogue that we can find sustainable solutions to promote the well-being and development of our people,” he advised.

The five-day meeting is a platform for traditional authorities, the government, and the private sector to deliberate on economic and social development issues, among others.

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