Swapo gets eviction order against ‘struggle kids’By: WERNER MENGES
THE Swapo Party obtained a court order for the eviction of a group of so-called ‘children of the liberation struggle’ from the party’s offices at Eenhana yesterday.
In an interim order granted by Acting Judge Esi Schimming-Chase in the High Court in Windhoek, the Namibian Police and the deputy sheriff of the High Court were authorised to evict the ‘struggle children’ from Swapo’s Ohangwena regional office, situated on Hifikepunye Pohamba Street at Eenhana.
The group of young people who have been gathered at the ruling party’s office at Eenhana since the end of January in a bid to advance their demands to be given employment by Government 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 operates with immediate effect, and is in force until March 28 at this stage.
The eviction order is the second such order to be issued from the High Court in the past nine days.
Last week, 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 Government should provide them with employment.
The ‘struggle children’ who set up camp at Swapo’s office at Eenhana on January 28 were behaving calmly and peacefully at first, and did not pose any threat to the party’s administrative officials and leadership at the regional office, Swapo deputy secretary general Laura McLeod-Katjirua says in an affidavit filed with the court this week.
She informed the court that the party never gave the ‘struggle children’ permission to occupy Swapo’s premises at Eenhana, and was trying to get the group to leave the premises peacefully.
On Monday last week, though, the group became unruly and violent, and they “are now uncontrollably causing havoc” at the party’s office, McLeod-Katjirua claims.
She related that the group 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 has 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 toilet 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.
Some members of the group were present in court yesterday. A spokesperson for the group, Kennedy Iiyambo, told Acting Judge Schimming-Chase that they are denying that they damaged a water pipe or threatened to burn down the office.
Iiyambo admitted that the group locked the gates to the office with a padlock, but added that the padlock was removed after they had been given access to water again.
On a question from the judge, who asked whether the group accepted that they were occupying a property that does not belong to them, Iiyambo answered that the Swapo premises indeed is theirs, too.
They do not own the property individually, “but Swapo, who is the mother and father of us, owns the property”, he said.
They need Government to fulfil its promises to give jobs to the ‘exile kids’, Iiyambo also said.
Acting Judge Schimming-Chase had some advice to offer to Iiyambo and his colleagues as well. When grown children misbehave – such as padlocking gates, breaking things, and threatening people – their parents can also kick them out of the house, she said.
Every action has a reaction and a consequence, and the group is now in the unfortunate position where they have to bear the consequences of their actions, she remarked.
Swapo was represented by lawyer Sisa Namandje.