Police, ‘struggle children’ fightBy: OSWALD SHIVUTE at EENHANA
EENHANA was on a knife’s edge yesterday afternoon after a fight broke out between the Ohangwena police and around 400 ‘children of the liberation struggle’.
Police had to use tear gas to chase some members of the group away from the Swapo regional office at the northern town and 12 of them were arrested, including their spokespersons Kennedy Iiyambo and Kristof Paulus.
The group have been camping at the party’s regional office since the end of January this year as they demand jobs in government.
However, last week Swapo obtained an eviction order in the High Court against them.
The order granted by Acting Judge Esi Schimming-Chase authorised the Namibian Police and the deputy sheriff of the High Court to evict the ‘struggle children’ from the party’s regional office and the group were also ordered not to interfere in any way with Swapo’s enjoyment of its rights of ownership of the property in question.
The order is in force until March 28.
It is the second such order to be issued by the High Court in recent days.
Two weeks ago the City of Windhoek also obtained an eviction order against a group of young people who since February 2 had been occupying erven belonging to the City – that land is situated next to Swapo’s head office in Windhoek – while demanding that the government should provide them with jobs.
When the police arrived at the Eenhana office yesterday and told the protesters to vacate the premises, the group initially obeyed the order and left.
They reportedly went to the Eenhana Shrine where they paid their last respects to fallen combatants and proceeded to the Magistrate’s Court from where they were chased away by the police.
The group reportedly went straight back to the Swapo office and started throwing stones at the police who came to evict them.
It is then that the police allegedly assaulted some of them, including a pregnant woman, Selma Sheehama.
A war of wards ensued before the police used tear gas to chase the group away.
Last week Swapo deputy secretary general Laura McLeod-Katjirua claimed in court papers that the group at Eenhana had become unruly and violent, and they “are now uncontrollably causing havoc”.
She related that the group had locked the entrance gates to the office with padlocks at the start of last week, and prevented party employees and officials from entering the office.
They have since then also been threatening Swapo employees and officials at the Eenhana office on a daily basis, including threatening to burn down the office if their demands to be employed are not met, McLeod-Katjirua claimed. The group also damaged an underground water pipe in an attempt to unlawfully get access to water being supplied to the party’s office over the weekend before they locked the gates, she added.
The situation at Swapo’s Eenhana office took a turn for the worse after party officials decided at the end of February to deal with a rising water bill and deteriorating hygiene at that office by restricting the access of the ‘struggle children’ to the office’s water and toilets.
The group was told that they could no longer use toilet facilities at the office, and that they would have access to a water tap only for an hour each morning and an hour in the afternoon, the court was informed.