The Namibian (Windhoek)

24 January 2013

Namibia: 'You Have No Right to Occupy Party Premises'

SWAPO Party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba says he has neither the power nor the capacity to provide the 'children of the liberation struggle' with jobs.

Mbumba told Nampa yesterday that as part of his duties as SG he can meet them, and nothing else.

He was responding to demands by a group of about 80 'struggle kids' - as they are often referred to - on January 11 to meet him specifically.

The police were called in to remove the protesters from the party's premises in Katutura last year when they ignored an eviction order.

They were then moved to the Ndilimani Cultural Troupe farm north of Windhoek, but claimed they were chased away by the group of 'struggle kids' already living there. The group returned to the area outside the Swapo head office, where they still are camping.

"This is a political party headquarters; it does not provide jobs. Jobs are in the government and companies," Mbumba said, adding that as a political party, Swapo could only help them by talking to the government.

"We have tried several times to assist these youths. As a party, we have sympathy, and it is us who influenced the government to come up with the policy of job creation, and we gave the responsibility to the office of the prime minister to make sure that these children get jobs," he said.

According to Mbumba, his office has not yet made an appointment to meet the protesters.

He added that their problems are known, and him talking to them is not a solution because the assignment has been given to the government to provide job opportunities for them.

Mbumba urged the youth to always have a positive approach when they want something to be done for them, instead of always going the negative route which involves demonstrations and the illegal occupation of premises.

"We have the right to demonstrate and give petitions, but we do not have the right to occupy government or parties' premises. When you do that, you are just making the work of the people trying to help you impossible," said Mbumba.

He said it is not only 'children of the liberation struggle' who need government attention.

"Each human being thinks of themselves first, but the responsibility of the government is to take care of everyone on an equal basis, and according to the Constitution and the laws of the country. There are instances where we have special cases or special needs, in which the authority of the State can still be utilised," Mbumba explained.

He also expressed regret about those who were given jobs in the public service, only to leave and then renew their demand for jobs.

He urged the 'struggle children' to learn to accept and respect what is given to them, adding that they are going to be re-registered and their backgrounds will be considered, and those who left jobs will be the last to be considered for new jobs. Regarding the issue of 'children of the liberation struggle' being in factions and not wanting to cooperate with others, Mbumba said this resulted from being impatient.

"If one group respected the call to be patient and the other disrespected it, then factions will arise. And when jobs arise, who should be employed first - those that remained patient or those who demanded jobs? It is a question of competition, but that does not separate them - they all remain children of the liberation struggle," he stated.

He further said Swapo is only responsible for maintenance and sanitation at the Ndilimani farm as it is Swapo property, and that the government is responsible for their food.

The group living at the Ndilimani farm has in recent months complained of a lack of food. They further claimed that the farm is unhygienic.

Nampa

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