Forces at play to destabilise NamibiaBy: SELMA SHIPANGA
ULTIMATUMS and threats, like the ones by the Namibian Exile Kids Association (Neka) last week, will only serve those who want to destabilise Namibia, Prime Minister Hage Geingob said yesterday.
Responding to an ultimatum set by Neka last week, for the prime minister to either engage the association on the plight of the children of the liberation struggle or face a national demonstration, Geingob did not take kindly to the threats.
“Ultimatums and threats will only serve those who want to destabilise the country,” Geingob said in a letter to Neka.
His statement is the closest a leader in the current government has come to confirming rumours that the ‘children of the liberation struggle’, who are also known as ‘struggle kids’, are being instigated by senior Swapo leaders.
Geingob’s response followed Neka’s threat to stage a national demonstration against the government if their demands fall on deaf ears.
Neka chairperson Benitha Nakaambo said at a press conference last week that Geingob had been unresponsive to the association’s attempts to engage him on the issue of job allocation for the struggle kids, adding that Geingob has stalled everything to do with the group since taking office as prime minister following the latest Cabinet reshuffle.
“It has come to my attention through various reports that there is a perception in some quarters that I am ignoring the pleas from the children of the liberation struggle or that I have been unresponsive to their communications,” Geingob said.
“I would like to state categorically that these notions could not be further from the truth.”
In the letter, Geingob also said that the Swapo Politburo had taken a decision which was endorsed by the party’s Central Committee last weekend that those struggle kids who have come to Windhoek should return to their homes.
“On Thursday we celebrate Independence Day, knowing that there are still many challenges we face, including youth unemployment. I therefore convey the directive of the Central Committee that you return to your homes peacefully and give government the necessary time to solve the plight of all of Namibia’s youth,” he said.
Nakaambo yesterday told The Namibian that the Neka leadership would have a response by today.
Rubbishing allegations that he has been unresponsive to the plight of the struggle kids, Geingob said he responded earlier to a letter he had received from a certain Abraham Hamupembe in which a request was made for a group of struggle children to relocate to the Ndilimani Camp.
“In the letter I stated my willingness to meet the concerned group the following week since I was attending a funeral in the North at the time. After consultations amongst the Swapo Party leadership, I released a press statement in which I addressed the plight of all unemployed Namibians in detail, explicitly stating that government cares for all Namibians and is working towards finding a solution to the problem of unemployment,” he said.
In that press statement, Geingob said that the government cannot be held hostage or coerced through demonstrations or occupation of government or party property to accede to demands for employment or any other grievances by any section of Namibian society.
Geingob said Swapo was committed to addressing the plight of all the children of Namibia, both those who were born in exile and those who were born inside the country during the period of struggle.
“We want a united nation and are against the creation of a dichotomy,” he said.
Meanwhile, sources said should the national demonstration take place, Neka might be joined by some former People’s Liberation Army of Namibia fighters.
“Ultimately we do not want to strike. The national strike will be the last resort. We want the State to listen to us and give us a platform to engage. If they can listen to [war veterans’ representatives] Ruusa Malulu and Alex Kamwi, why not to us,” Nakaambo said last week.