THE Ondonga Traditional Authority says it does not accept the two apologies made by Omusati governor Erginus Endjala last week, while labelling his alleged tribalist statements an insult to the Aandonga community.
Endjala had to issue two public apologies within a week following alleged tribalistic remarks made in a private telephonic conversation about a month ago. Both apologies have been dismissed as inadequate by the Ondonga Traditional Authority.
Endjala’s first apology, on 24 July, was also rejected by President Hage Geingob. The President last Thursday ordered him to issue another apology, which has now also been rejected by the Ondonga Traditional Authority. The traditional authority’s senior headman, Naeman Amalwa, who also doubles as the spokesperson of King Kauluma Eliphas, yesterday told The Namibian that they were willing to forgive Endjala on condition that his apology mentioned the individuals he singled out in the recorded conversation.
“Endjala’s apology is insufficient and an insult to the collective intelligence of the Aandonga community. We demand that he issues a written, unequivocal, unconditional apology. Since he mentioned names in his recorded conversation and sounded so sure of what he was talking about, he must do the same in his apology,” stressed Amalwa.
“We are prepared to forgive, but Endjala must issue a sincere apology. The apologies he issued so far are not sincere,” he added. The controversy flows from a casual private conversation between Endjala and a certain Taimi Tekla Iimbili which was secretly recorded and leaked on social media.
In the recording, Endjala labelled Aandonga as pathologically power-hungry and traitorous.
Endjala told The Namibian yesterday that he was directed by the Presidency to issue a second apology on Friday. “I apologised for the second time because some people felt my first apology was not remorseful. But to me, a sorry is just a sorry,” an emotional Endjala said yesterday.
His second apology, on Friday, came in the wake of Swapo last week recalling Bernadus Swartbooi, a former deputy minister, from parliament over alleged tribalistic remarks made during a meeting at Keetmanshoop recently. Some members of the Swapo poliburo, such as Kazenambo Kazenambo, questioned whether the party would also remove governor Endjala from his position after his tribalistic statements.
On Friday, State House spokesperson Albertus Aochamub said President Geingob had written a “strongly-worded letter” to Endjala last Thursday, stating: “As my representative in the region, I expect you to uphold the highest standards of leadership and constitutional principles, especially with regards to fostering peace and harmonious relations in the region. Your unfortunate tribal utterances, therefore, are counterproductive and diminishing our concerted effort to build an inclusive ‘Namibian house’ – where all tribes and races live in unity and harmony.”
According to Aochamub, Geingob told Endjala that his previous apology “falls far short of a comprehensive statement of regret”.