Namibia: Swapo Blocks Reconciliation Talks

SWAPO members of parliament last week rejected a motion to discuss the impact the policy of national reconciliation has had since independence.

Swapo MPs, including prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, minister of fisheries and marine resources Albert Kawana, deputy minister of defence Hilma Nicanor and minister of labour Utoni Nujoma all opposed revisiting the policy on national reconciliation last week in the National Assembly.

The motion was tabled by Swanu leader Tangeni Iijambo.

Iijambo said he wanted lawmakers to look at the policy - specifically at the plight of forgotten segments of the population, such as former Koevoet and South West Africa Territorial Force (SWATF) soldiers.

He said these groups continue to suffer severe deprivation and insecurity as a result of neglect by the government.

Iijambo questioned whether the policy was at all implemented after independence.

He said there seems to be no urgency in solidifying the peace Namibians enjoy today after independence.

Instead, Iijambo said the government was only concerned with repeating slogans and paying lip service to reconciliation.

"It is customary for the ruling party to extoll the virtues of stability without doing anything concrete about it. It would appear that the peace and stability mantra is employed merely to avoid confronting difficult issues from our common and violent past," Iijambo said.

He said the circumstances of Koevoet and SWATF soldiers is testimony to the fact that the national reconciliation policy has failed.

The government for the past 30 years has become myopic "if not indifferent" to some sections of the population, he said.

The past three decades have been beset by "jobs for comrades" and rampant corruption, Iijambo said.

He suggested that the government create a special programme or fund to alleviate the former Koevoet and SWATF members' suffering.

"For the sake of genuine reconciliation, it is incumbent upon the government to be concerned with their plight as citizens, just as the government is seized with the plight of marginalised communities, including the San, Ovatue, the struggle kids and others," Iijambo said.

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