20 February 2013

Namibia: 'Struggle Kids' Not Special - Mbumba

Photo: IRIN
File photo of street children in Zambia.

THE hopes of the 'children of the liberation struggle' to get jobs in the public service were dealt a major blow after the ruling party's Politburo expressed disapproval of their "manners and attitude".

Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba delivered the hard-hitting message at the party headquarters on Tuesday as part of the Politburo's decisions.

"The Political Bureau has deliberated on the issue and expressed its discomfort with the manner and the attitude displayed by the so-called children of the liberation struggle," he said.

A group of people born in exile are camping near the Swapo headquarters in Katutura after they walked from Outapi to Windhoek in ten days, covering over 800km.

There have been others camping in regions such as Kavango and Ohangwena.

Mbumba said the Politburo felt that it was unfair and unacceptable that a group of young people who happened to be born outside of the country during the liberation struggle are demanding special treatment from the government.

"The government represents all the people, no matter where they were born and by whom," he said, adding that the "Swapo government cannot discriminate against other young people of our country just because they were born inside the country".

He said the Politburo resolved that those camping around the country and demanding jobs must return to their homes.

"Swapo Party government would do everything to create jobs for all Namibians, but none is special so as to deserve special treatment over other Namibians," Mbumba said.

Last year retired Lieutenant General Martin Shalli said the group were "a special category of people" and should be treated as such.

"There's a huge difference between these groups of people, 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," he said in June last year.

He was supported by the Namibian Exile Kids Association (Neka), an organisation representing some of the 'struggle kids'.

Former Prime Minister Nahas Angula, who is now the defence minister, also described the 'children of the liberation struggle' as "the true heirs of Namibian independence".

"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 said.

Mbumba also announced that the Politburo had lifted the suspension of the Swapo Party Women's Council's former deputy secretary, Linea Shaetonhodi, who was suspended three years ago after she was accused of "disloyalty towards the Swapo Party and its organs". She was also accused of "collaboration with opposition parties and in particular the Rally for Democracy and Progress".

Mbumba said the suspension was ambiguous as there were no charges brought against her.

"It is for this reason that the Political Bureau resolved to reiterate its earlier decision that this suspension is lifted and Shaetonhodi is free to participate in the party activities as she has always been doing," Mbumba said.

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