Govt urged to recognise ex-SWATF, Koevoet members as war vets

23 Sep 2014 15:50pm
OPUWO, 23 SEP (NAMPA) – The Senior Traditional Councillor of Otjikaoko in the Kunene Region, Ujewetu Tjihange has called on Government to rethink its refusal to recognise ex-SWATF and Koevoet members as war veterans.
Tjihange was speaking during a meeting held at Opuwo on Sunday. It was attended by about 300 ex-South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) and Koevoet members who had just completed a 100 kilometre walk from Okangwati.
Namibia War Veterans' Trust (Namvet) chairperson Jabulani Ndeunyema told Nampa last Wednesday they were marching to denounce the alleged discrimination against members of Namvet, who are not allowed to receive benefits from the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs.
“The exclusion of fellow Namibians from benefiting from their own money contributed through tax collection cannot guarantee everlasting peace and stability at all,” Tjihange said.
Namibians who are accorded war veteran status are entitled to many benefits such as financial assistance and training funded by the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs.
Speaking at the same event, Ndeunyema said the ex-SWATF and Koevoet members battle problems such as poverty, hunger and unemployment.
“It is very upsetting to see your brothers and sisters who are from the same house eating food prepared in your house, and yet you are not given your share,” he said.
He went on to say just because Namvet members’ “love peace and stability” it should not be thought that they are cowards.
He warned that a hungry man is an angry man.
“If the condition of our members continues to deteriorate they will be forced to take unspecified actions against Government,” said.
He however ruled out taking up arms against the government.
Ndeunyema noted that their march, which started on Tuesday and ended at Opuwo on Sunday, is a clear indication that they are still fit and able to defend themselves if need be.
Namvet gave the Namibian Government until the end of April 2015 to look into their grievances “or face unspecified action”.