18 January 2013

Namibia: 'Struggle Kids' to Be Re-Registered for Jobs

Windhoek — In an attempt to verify the exact number of children of the liberation struggle and other vulnerable youths still unemployed, the Prime Minister's Office has directed all Permanent Secretaries to halt the employment of such groups who appear on a list compiled last year.

Chairperson of the 'Struggle Kids' Recruitment Committee, Zulu Shitongeni, who is also the Tobias Hainyeko Constituency Councillor yesterday confirmed that the process was halted last year in November to pave the way for the compilation of a new list.

In a letter dated November 19, 2012 former Prime Minister Nahas Angula directed all Permanent Secretaries to cease the recruitment process until a new list has been created.

"It has come to the attention of my office that some Offices/Ministries/ Agencies (OMAs) have been employing children of the liberation struggle and vulnerable youth from the 2009 and 2010 list after I requested your offices to provide my office with entry level positions this year," reads the letter in the possession of New Era.

"I am writing to direct you to cease the employment of children of the liberation struggle and vulnerable youth from the old list. Employment of such should only be from the latest list from the offices of the Prime Minister. This will help in keeping accurate data," the letter further states.

Shitongeni was taken by surprise yesterday when a group of protesting 'struggle kids' showed up at his office demanding not to be placed on a common list with other youths, because they are 'special kids'.

He calmed them down and explained to them that the PM's office has directed that a new list, including 'struggle kids' and other vulnerable youths be compiled before recruitment can resume. The 'Struggle Kids' Recruitment Committee is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that a new list is created.

"Once the list is complete, we will recruit from the new list and not wait for them to demonstrate. For now they must just be patient until they get employment based on the new list," he explained. The re-registration exercise to compile a new list kicked off yesterday in the Khomas Region, but will be extended to all 13 regions in all 107 constituencies.

The process is expected to conclude on January 25. Rtd Lt-General Martin Shalli last year called for a distinction to be made between those children born and raised in exile and those born in Namibia, when he said the children born in exile are 'a special category of people' and should be treated as such.

"There's a huge difference between these groups of people, and there are no comparisons whatsoever. You cannot put Sam Nujoma and (Nathanael) Maxuilili in one room. God and Jesus cannot be the same person. I don't mean the problems of those born here should not be addressed, but a clear distinction should be made," Shalli was quoted as saying during the first Namibia Exile Kids Association (NEKA) congress held in Windhoek last year.

At the same congress, the former premier Angula also described the children of the liberation struggle as "the true heirs of Namibian independence" and urged them to join the Swapo Party structures.

"We need to do more to assist these heirs of Namibian independence to truly feel that Namibia is their homeland, a land for which their parents made enormous sacrifices, including supreme sacrifices. We must make sure that the 'struggle kids' own the Namibian revolution," he had said.

Shalli and Angula's remarks at the time sparked heated debate among young people across the country, with many expressing their outrage on the popular social network Facebook.

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