WRAP: Chaos at Neka meeting comes to end

14 Nov 2015 20:20pm
WINDHOEK, 14 NOV (NAMPA) - Chaos erupted during a meeting between “children of the liberation struggle” and Neka leaders here on Saturday morning because the organisation could not secure them jobs.
The Namibian Exile Kids Association (Neka)-organised meeting at Government Office Park turned violent after an angry group of about 200 Neka members decided to quit the organisation and demanded their membership money of N.dollars 25 each per year be returned to them by 20 November 2015.
Most of the angry crowd is “struggle kids” currently camping near the Swapo Party headquarters in the capital. The youth are also angry that Neka leaders do not visit them at their camp.
They on Saturday at about 11h00 blocked the Government Office Park Auditorium entrances and thereby trapped six Neka leaders inside for over three hours.
The leaders are Benitha Nakaambo (president), Rauna Amutati, Sonja Heita, Penda Hangala, Nansunga Lukubwe and Jerry Netumbo. They were also thrown with water bottles and papers, and threatened that they will be beaten up. The mob said they will burn down Nakaambo’s shebeen.
Some property in the auditorium was damaged, such as the portrait of the Founding President, Sam Nujoma which is hanging on one of the walls, some chairs, a desk and some of the original documentation of Neka was torn and scattered all over the room.
The Namibian Police Force (Nampol) tried to calm the situation by removing the struggle kids from the auditorium and by keeping Neka members inside the auditorium.
The struggle kids monitored all vehicles exiting Government Office Park in search of Neka members who could be hiding inside such vehicles.
The police officers could not escort the Neka members safely out of the building and guarded them for over three hours until the angry mob dispersed by late afternoon.
Neka called the meeting through local radio announcements a few days ago, saying they will discuss the employment of the struggle kids.
During the meeting, Amutati said Neka got involved in the recruiting process committee for the children of the liberation struggle when Nahas Angula was still Prime Minister (2005-2012). She said he identified that there was a need for the then Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to register the struggle kids. “However, nothing resulted from that and instead brought confusion. It was then identified that a recruiting committee be established.”
She added that this recruiting committee consists of Neka; Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture; and the Ministry of Safety and Security. It is led by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
“In this recruiting committee, Neka only has one position and it is held by me. So, this committee is not a Neka committee to recruit but it’s a Government committee,” Amutati explained.
She mentioned that Angula identified that all entry-level positions in Government are to go to the recruitment committee to decide who gets which job.
“All those positions that did not require any qualification were identified and before being advertised in newspapers, we (recruitment committee) were given a certain number.
“Let’s say we get 10 positions, we then divide five positions to go to the children of the liberation struggle and the other five goes to the vulnerable children born in the country,” she explained.
She said this was after former PM and now President Hage Geingob said: “ ‘as much as struggle kids suffered in exile, there are children who suffered in the country too and don’t have parents’,” so the recruitment must be divided.
In an interview with Nampa before the chaos, camping struggle kid spokesperson, Martin Neumbo said when Neka leaders introduced themselves to the children of the liberation struggle they failed to explain their duties and activities.
“So, we believed that when we registered with Neka it would be responsible to give us jobs but unfortunately it is not their purpose; that’s the reason people are not happy with that.
“They (struggle kids) paid their money when they registered and they don’t know what that money was used for,” Neumbo said.
He further said the reason they are at the meeting is for Neka to explain the use of their money, how many people have been recruited, and in which categories.
The struggle kids who are currently camping at the Swapo headquarters are from the Oshana, Zambezi, Ohangwena, Khomas, Karas and Omusati Regions.
Neka was formed in 2008 to address the problems faced by struggle kids and to capture and document their history. Neka has a membership of over 5 000 members, according to Neka President, Benitha Nakaambo, who also said the membership fee of those demanding its return will be processed and given by Friday 20 November 2015.
She noted that Neka will then definitely part ways with those members. Struggle kids who had been members of Neka since its establishment in 2008 are expected to receive about N.dollars 200.