SPYL saves struggle children from arrestBy: NANGULA SHEJAVALI
THE Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) yesterday helped ensure that the 112 protesting children of the liberation struggle did not add a criminal record to their names.
The Secretary of the SPYL, Elijah Ngurare, on Tuesday night said that “the court order is in order, and we don’t want them to defy it. The youth league doesn’t want to see them arrested, and we are working around the clock to avoid this scenario.”
This work seems to have paid off, and two buses were dispatched at around 12h30 yesterday to relocate the group, which had occupied the pavement in front of the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs for about 80 days.
The Ministry rents premises from TransNamib, and it was on this account that Judge Nate Ndauendapo on Tuesday morning ruled in favour of the national transport carrier, granting it an eviction order against the demonstrators. Late on Tuesday night, talks were ongoing to move the demonstrators from the site and to prevent their arrest.
Ngurare yesterday confirmed that the demonstrators will be moved to the Sam Nujoma Stadium, where they will remain until the registration process has been completed.
The Ramatex complex in Otjomuise had been considered as one of the many options for the move, but was not made use of due to ongoing negotiations on the future of the former textile factory.
Salomo Shinedima, spokesperson for the demonstrating group, said: “We are happy with the move. These are not our premises, they belong to TransNamib, and the court order has been given.”
In a statement to the media earlier this week, the protesters said one of the reasons they were hesitating to leave was that “some of us are orphans and some came from the street, and therefore prefer/demand Swapo to be our guardian.”
Shinedima referred to this statement when asked about his thoughts on the SPYL’s role, hinting that it was the party’s responsibility to take care of them.
Gearing up for the move, however, did not come without problems. Arguments broke out amongst the group when about 10 ex-members of the group, who had deserted the site when the court order was served, returned and demanded to be taken along. A list of the remaining demonstrators had, however, been compiled following the granting of the court order, and only those on the list were permitted to enter the buses, leaving the others behind.
By 14h00, the site was cleared of demonstrators, and only the large cardboard boxes and plastic sheets that formed the structure of their shelters remained.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Safety and Security, Peter Mwatile, expressed relief at the outcome, saying: “We were waiting to dispatch the Police if they didn’t comply with the court order, but we didn’t want to have to arrest them, and we are very happy with the outcome.”
Asked what kind of force would have been used against the demonstrators had they not complied with the order, Mwatile said: “When eviction is taking place, there is always an opportunity for negotiation. We always look at the option of using minimal force, or a peaceful way of making people understand. In this case, this was not needed because they complied with the court order.”
Ailly Hangula-Paulino, Chief Corporate Communications Officer at TransNamib, also indicated the parastatal’s satisfaction at the outcome, and the subsequent relief of TransNamib’s premises.
“We are thankful for the peaceful move, and happy for the amicable outcome without the use of force,” she said.