Windhoek — Government has called on all Namibian exile returnees to refrain and distance themselves from registration for possible compensations from the United Nations - as it does not exist.
Rumours are that Namibians who were repatriated, resettled and rehabilitated under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as part of the UN Resolution 435 should register for compensation from outstanding UN funds.
In a media statement, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya said there has been some groups who claim to represent Namibian former freedom fighters who were repatriated in 1989 as part of UN Resolution 435 which led to the country's independence in 1990.
These groups, including the so-called Concerned Group of Refugees, Namibian Refugees and the Committee of Refugees who were repatriated in 1989 should be registered so that they get money from the UN.
"The government has not authorised neither does it support such exercises. It is unacceptable and unethical for anyone to play on the emotions of people," stated the ICT minister.
Government is also concerned this issue has the potential to create chaos in the country hence it is the responsibility of the government to put the matter in the right context in order to prevent people from becoming victims of this unfolding exercise, he said.
"It's a great concern for the government that some of these groups have already initiated campaigns to register the repatriates under pretences that those registered will receive benefits from UN. The stance of the government has always been known to everyone that there are no benefits or monies that should have been paid to Namibian repatriates in the context of the implementation of Resolution 435," noted Tweya.
He also said even the UN has made it categorically clear there are no such post-repatriation benefits.
"There are no funds that were earmarked for the Namibian repatriation in 1989, that have not been used or were retained by the UNHCR, as per the rules governing UNHCR's expenditures. This demonstrates the transparency of the UN repatriation process," he stated.
The minister further appealed to Namibian people not to participate in such activities since UN made it clear no funds will be claimed.
"It is unfortunate that some people have parted with much-needed money in relation to the registration activities of these groups. That is regrettable, we therefore call upon these groups to stop and desist from their activities, which serve no other purpose but to deceive the public."
He further assured veterans of the Namibian liberation struggle that government will continue to always take care of them through the Veterans Act, 2 of 2008.
* Moses Haufiku is an information officer at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology based in Windhoek