Geingob speech belittled Koevoet: Nudo

28 Aug 2017 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 28 AUG (NAMPA) – The National Unity Democratic Party (NUDO) has expressed disappointment in President Hage Geingob’s dismissal of former South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) and Koevoet soldiers from obtaining war veteran status.
In a statement issued on Monday, Nudo party presidential spokesperson, Joseph Kauandenge uttered dismay that Geingob chose Heroes’ Day to belittle them and downgrade their plight to not an issue.
The President in his keynote address at the national commemoration on Saturday dismissed demands by former Koevoet soldiers to be recognised by Government as war veterans.
“We will never be convinced that entertaining the demands of former Koevoet soldiers to be recognised as war veterans is constructive. They were paid by those who hired them and will not receive compensation from Government,” said Geingob.
Koevoet was a paramilitary-trained police counter-insurgency unit during apartheid South Africa’s illegal occupation of Namibia.
Its directive was to fight against the country’s liberation forces and it operated under SWATF, a wing of the then South African Defence Force.
Kauandenge said the issue could not be ignored and no number of insults would make it go away.
He said Geingob made the remarks while fighting for the survival of his political career during the upcoming Swapo Party congress and thus saw an opportunity to appear politically relevant.
“The President conveniently forgot that there are daughters, mothers and extended families that still seek answers as to what happened to their loved ones,” said Kauandenge.
He explained that the National Reconciliation Policy was selective as it applied to some Namibian societies and not all.
Former SWATF and Koevoet soldiers have on numerous occasions in the past protested in Oshakati and Windhoek for Government to recognise them as war veterans, like former members of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the then SWAPO military wing.
“Government, which was elected to represent all Namibians irrespective of their political affiliations, must address this burning issue once and for all, otherwise it will continue to threaten our country’s peace and stability,” he said.