New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Struggle Continues for Jobless Youths

Oshakati — Children of veterans of the liberation struggle continue to endure hardship as their long march to the capital continues. They are marching on foot from Outapi to Windhoek, a distance of almost 700 kilometres.

By yesterday afternoon, the last group of 200 youths to leave Outapi had covered a distance of almost 400km. Two advance groups were already ahead since some managed to hitch rides on the way.

A few mothers with young children had dropped out of the march by yesterday. One of them joined the march with a month-old baby.

Among the marchers are three pregnant women and some people with disabilities. "Two of the women are heavily pregnant and they can deliver any day. If they get in labour while we are still on the road, we will help them deliver. Last Friday, a fourth mother delivered a baby in the Oshakati State Hospital," said Matilde Amutenya one of the group of marchers.

The march started last week Wednesday, after a decision to come to Windhoek to see Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob. By yesterday morning, the last group was between Tsumeb and Oshivelo trying to hitchhike. The police advised them not to travel further, because of the danger of lions and leopards in the area between Tsumeb and Otjiwarongo.

"Some group members have already left with their luggage, but we are hoping that we will get a lift to help us cross these areas," said Amutenya. The group is also accusing the government of attempts to 'sabotage' their march.

Amutenya claims that at times they meet good Samaritans who are willing to offer them transportation, however these good Samaritans are being threatened by unknown people.

"Like yesterday some members of our group managed to get a lift from a certain Swapo coordinator, but he was called from an unknown number warning him that people should get out of the car or else he will be in trouble. The man had to stop in order to drop them after travelling 20km. We now don't know if our government wants us to die or be eaten by lions, we just don't know," he said.

The march started last week Wednesday following a few days of camping at the Swapo regional offices at Outapi. The group had demanded that the Prime Minister Hage Geingob meet them in Omusati Region, but when they were told that their demand could not be met they decided to walk to Windhoek.

They also claim that they did not camp with the first groups at the party offices, because they were patients and believed that government would provide them with jobs while waiting at their homes. "We have had enough, we have been waiting for too long," said Amutenya.

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