Police, struggle kids in accidentBy: SELMA SHIPANGA
THE ‘struggle kids’ who were forcibly removed from the Swapo Party headquarters by the Police on Monday blame Swapo Party general secretary and Justice Minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana for the action against them.
The group yesterday complained to NamRights executive director Phil ya Nangoloh that Iivula-Ithana gave the order for them to be removed from the party premises, and not President Hifikepunye Pohamba as had been reported by the Police.
Chief Inspector Hofni Kandjimi on Monday told The Namibian the order to remove the group came directly from Swapo president Hifikepunye Pohamba.
“We blame Pendukeni because on the first day when we visited the party offices, we were beaten up by the Police while she was coming out of the party offices, watched us being brutalised and didn’t say a word. Again on Monday when we were beaten up, shoved and dragged by the Police from the party premises, she was the last one to leave the offices and again she didn’t say anything.
We know that she is the one who issued the command for us to be brutalised. We know it’s not the President, it’s her,” claimed group member Shekupe Mutilifa.
Ya Nangoloh agreed with them, saying that as the Justice Minister, Iivula-Ithana ought to be at the frontline of the matter.
“The President is also to blame for this. He cannot continue to be arrogant and order the police to come and beat the kids. These kids have a valid case which is in accordance with the Constitution. They are entitled to jobs and they are entitled to be heard by the Government,” he said.
Iivula-Ithana was reportedly out of town yesterday, and Prime Minister Nahas Angula could also not be reached for comment.
The protesters, escorted by Police, marched to the NamRights office yesterday to report the “assault” they endured on Monday evening. They also asked Ya Nangoloh for advice “so we can lay charges against the Police”.
The group, who maintain they remain Swapo supporters , told Ya Nangoloh of their struggle in getting feedback from government leaders on the state of “the jobs we were promised”.
“What we want is our leaders to listen to us. We have been enlisted for employment with the Government since 2008 but as we found out, our names have been replaced by those related to the ministers and the permanent secretaries. We cannot just let this go,” claimed group leader John Amadhila.
Ya Nangoloh strongly condemned violence against the protesters and urged both the Police and the group to refrain from employing violent tactics and to rather discuss issues in a peaceful manner. “You have the right to employment, this country has been established as a republic to cater to all of us. I urge our Government to come and give you an answer,” he told the group.
Ya Nangoloh told The Namibian that he had requested a meeting with Veterans’ Affairs Minister Nickey Iyambo and Youth Minister Kazenambo Kazenambo to address the group.
Namibia Exile Kids Association (Neka) spokesperson Benitha Nakaambo told The Namibian that they were negotiating with both the Government and the struggle kids to find a mutually acceptable solution.
“Neka condemns the abuse of these children. We sympathise and understand what they are going through and we are in consultation with different parties to find a solution to this problem. In the meantime we will be meeting with Minister Kazenambo Kazenambo next week to try and get answers on the way forward,” she said.
The protesters were warned by the Police yesterday not to set foot at the Swapo headquarters or any government buildings.
Ya Nangoloh has in the meantime made the NamRights office premises available to them until they get feedback from Government on their demands.
Nakaambo also said the association was trying to find the protesters a place to stay.
Ya Nangoloh said he will put pressure on the Ombudsman and the Directorate of Legal Aid to help the protesters to “sue the Government”.