WINDHOEK, 16 AUG – The Namibian War Veterans Trust (Namvet) has threatened to disassociate themselves from opposition parties if by 01 December this year they fail to convince the government to recognise them as military veterans.
The members of Namvet made the threat in a petition which was handed over to the All People’s Party (APP) and Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) during a peaceful demonstration yesterday.
In the petition, which was read by Namvet founder Jabulani Ndeunyema, the members demanded that political parties put maximum pressure on Swapo politicians and “stop them from unconstitutional conduct which suffocates the country’s democracy”.
“Opposition political parties have allowed us to be humiliated, discriminated against and to live in economic apartheid imposed by the ruling party, Swapo,” he claimed.
The current law only caters for and benefits the soldiers who fought alongside Swapo and left out the ones who fought alongside South Africa, Ndeunyema further said.
“We demand that a Military Veterans Act be enacted to cater for all military veterans in Namibia; reimbursement for all losses and humiliation that the ex-SWATF and Koevoet and their families have suffered,” said Namvet.
They further demand that comprehensive counselling support be offered to veterans who suffered extreme dislocation from normal livelihood and who often face severe challenges in adjusting and reintegrating into society.
“The majority of former soldiers are living in garbage, which has translated into some of them committing crimes due to traumatic events they witnessed during combat.”
Receiving the petition on behalf of PDM, its secretary-general Immanuel Ngaringombe promised to channel it as requested, adding that defending human rights is of primary importance to the PDM.
“The only thing we can do is to go through the right channels by tabling such matters in the National Assembly for consideration,” he explained.
APP chief administrative officer, Marius Goraseb, who also received the petition on behalf of his party, assured the Namvet members that the leadership of the APP will look into the petition and deal with it accordingly.
The Namvet members staged the peaceful demonstration after a planned demonstration to Parliament on Monday was called off.