‘Struggle kids’ push for more jobs

The Namibia Exile Kids Association (Neka) passed a resolution over the weekend, demanding more job opportunities for its unemployed members.

The Namibian understands the resolution was taken at Neka’s annual general meeting at Otjiwarongo this past weekend.

The meeting also saw the disputed election of the new Neka leaders.

The full details of the demand for jobs are not clear, but the ‘struggle kids’ have a history of demanding jobs and sometimes getting their way.

For instance, in 2015, approximately 100 ‘struggle kids’ were hired by the Namibian Correctional Service, followed by 82 placements in various positions within the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform in 2017, with an additional 28 positions allocated to them by the same ministry in 2012.

“We passed many resolutions and yes, some include jobs for the remaining people who are unemployed,” a source, who attended the Neka congress on Saturday, has told The Namibian.

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) lawmaker Maximalliant Katjimune yesterday said everyone is equal before the law, adding that ‘struggle kids’ should not expect preferential treatment.

“Most young people in this country face harsh challenges related to unemployment, poverty and inequality. The ‘struggle kids; should not receive preferential treatment above any other young Namibian. This would be an unconstitutional practice,” he said.

The High Court in 2021 ruled unlawful a Cabinet decision to reserve specific public service positions for the children of the liberation struggle, bypassing the mandated recruitment process.

This is after former ombudsman John Walters took the Cabinet to court upon discovering a distinct recruitment and appointment system favouring children of the liberation struggle, involving that vacancies were reserved for them and not publicly advertised.

In 2016, former president Hage Geingob approved the transfer of N$11,3 million from the Social Security Commission for the ‘struggle kids’.

Rauna Amutati


Following a tense congress, Rauna Amutati, who was outvoted as Neka president at the annual general meeting, maintains she is still the president of Neka as according to her, the election did not take place.

“Normally after the adoption of the constitution, we are supposed to go for election. However, I adjourned the meeting, and dissolved the election committee.

“When I left the hall, it was dangerous as the mob came for me. Luckily I managed to be rescued from the hall,” she said.

Amutati said she was followed outside from the meeting venue by delegates of six regions.

According to her, these delegates agreed not to disobey Swapo’s advice.

The association is seeking affiliation with the ruling party.

“The constitution says the candidates must be vetted by Swapo party structures, which was not done,” she said.

Amutati said the election committee was supposed to provide credentials, which was not done.

“Myself, the secretary general and aspiring secretary general, we walked out. It’s not making sense for them to run the election in our absence.

“They defied my instruction as the chairperson of the congress . . . I am busy drafting a report regarding what transpired,” she said.

Swapo could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, an anonymous source from within the national executive committee of Neka said: “What transpired is Neka planned for their annual general meeting to take place from 29 March to 1 April 2024. The agenda, among other items, included the election of new office-bearers as the mandate of the previous leaders already ended in March 2024, since they were elected in 2021 for three years.”

The source said Amutati attempted to halt the congress, using a letter from Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa on Sunday afternoon advising cancellation due to tensions, but delegates disagreed, citing typical electoral process tensions.

“Neka delegates went on to argue that Neka is not an affiliate to the party yet, and even if it was, the party cannot interfere in its processes as it has its own legal instruments. So the house voted and an overwhelming majority decided that elections should proceed,” the source said.

The source said Amutati faced no threats at the venue.

“In a nutshell, the elections were constitutionally conducted and the new leadership was duly elected,” the source said.


The Namibian further understands that the troubled association cannot account for N$140 000 meant to assist with the logistics of the annual general meeting at Otjiwarongo this past weekend.

The money is said to be a contribution from individual people and from Swapo-owned company Kalahari Holdings and Swapo itself.

Swapo donated N$90 000, while Kalahari Holdings gave N$10 000.

Sources within the association claim N$50 000 and $90 000 were transferred to Neka member Namasiku Lizazi’s account to make it easier to make payments.

“While on the ground, she did not fulfil her obligations and instead left delegates starved and stranded. To date she has not responded to requests for financial expenditure reports nor receipts and neither has she returned any unused funds,” a Neka source told The Namibian.

The source said most of the delegates who attended the congress are unemployed while some were breastfeeding mothers.

Lizazi told The Namibian yesterday she has not been informed of money unaccounted for.

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