13 November 2018

Namibia: Demos Against 'Struggle Kids' Rage On

About 100 Keetmanshoop residents yesterday demanded that Cabinet should reverse its decision that forces government institutions to employ children of the liberation struggle at the expense of locals.

In a petition they handed over to //Karas governor Lucia Basson, the residents demanded that all children of the liberation struggle employed at the town and within the region should leave.

The residents gave Basson until 19 November to address their demands.

Expressing dismay at the appointment of "struggle kids" in positions for unskilled workers that were not advertised, the group said the local community had already suffered exploitation, enslavement and genocide during the German colonial era and the South African apartheid regime.

"As such, our community has inherited generational poverty and destitution," the petition reads.

According to the protestors, the //Karas community has remained excluded for long, while the ruling elite benefit from the abundant mineral resources in the region at the expense of locals.

They argued that the few job opportunities available at the town must be filled by locals, and should not be reserved for the "struggle kids".

"We understand and accept the fact that the Constitution provides that Namibia is a unitary state. However, the manner in which the "struggle kids" have been recruited indirectly discriminates against unemployed locals," the petition stated.

"It seems the independent government, in our new constitutional democracy, has adopted the discriminatory policies similar to those of the German colonial regime and the South African apartheid regime," the petitioners said.

The protestors described the recruitment of the "struggle kids" as discriminatory, unfair, prejudicial and unacceptable.

"This is discrimination, and we will fight the government's discriminatory practices," they vowed.

The protestors had on Friday also staged a protest against giving jobs to 'struggle kids'.

However, they refused to hand over the petition to Basson's special adviser, Alfred Dax, when they were informed that the governor was not available to personally receive their petition.

Basson yesterday thanked the protestors for the peaceful manner in which they staged the protest, and pledged to forward their grievances without delay to president Hage Geingob and the prime minister.

"I will forward your petition to the relevant authorities today with a covering letter requesting an immediate response," she promised.

Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa recently said the Cabinet decision referred to comprehensively addresses the plight of the children of the liberation struggle in all 14 regions of the country.

"We are aware of the recent spate of demonstrations against the employment of the children of the liberation struggle in the //Karas and Hardap regions. I can only assure you that the government is seized with the matter, and hopes to find an amicable solution," he stated then.

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