DTA president supports ex-colonial soldiers' demands

10 Nov 2014 13:50pm
OSHAKATI, 10 NOV (NAMPA) - DTA of Namibia president McHenry Venaani says President Hifikepunye Pohamba's statement that ex-colonial government soldiers should go back to war is “premature and childish”.
Venaani said this while addressing a DTA election campaign rally at Oshakati in the Oshana Region on Saturday.
He was referring to Pohamba's remarks at the Omugulugombashe national shrine in the Omusati Region earlier this year, when the Head of State refuted demands by former colonial government soldiers to be recognised as war veterans.
These are ex-fighters who served in the South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) and the South West Africa Police Counter Insurgency Unit (Koevoet).
Pohamba said ex-colonial government soldiers are “killers” and will not be recognised as war veterans to benefit from the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs like their counterparts from the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the defunct military wing of Swapo.
He was speaking at the unveiling of the PLAN fighters' statue in May this year.
“I am asked to give veteran status to SWATF and Koevoet. I will not give veteran status to the killers, and if they continue to threaten as they have been, if they want to go to the bush, we will meet them there,” he said.
Ex-colonial soldiers continue to demand to be recognised as war veterans like PLAN soldiers, but Pohamba has repeatedly dismissed their demands.
Venaani says internationally, war veteran status is granted to any ex-combatant irrespective the side of the war someone fought on.
The DTA president, who is also the party's presidential candidate, indicated that the granting of veteran status is about the integration of ex-combatants into society to maintain peace.
He echoed the sentiments of Phil ya Nangoloh of NamRights, who recently advised the ex-colonial government soldiers to challenge the War Veterans' Act in a competent court of law.
Venaani at the same time dismissed the claims by leaders of the Swapo-Party that the party has maintained peace and stability in the country for the past 24 years.
According to him, peace is not maintained by those who won power, but is maintained by those who have lost power and who maintain stability.
“Everywhere in Africa it is the losers who create instability,” Venaani noted and singled out political organisations such as the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) of the late Jonas Savimbi in Angola, and the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) in Mozambique as losers who have created instability in their countries.
Venaani asked the Namibian electorate to go to the polls in big numbers on 28 November to vote the DTA into power so the party can “create a better Namibia that takes care of everybody.”
A group of 28 young people from Onamhindi village in the Omusati Region, led by Julius Hamutenya, and several struggle kids, led by Tobias Joseph, declared their membership with the DTA of Namibia at the rally.