Dependants should benefit from grant: war veterans

In an interview with The Southern Times, Kamwi said although the registration was moving on well, there were still problems and question marks on who should register for the grant.

“Those children above the age of 18, born in exile will not benefit from this grant. Some of them lost both parents in the liberation struggle or after independence, but because they are above that age, they are excluded,” he said.

He said it seemed that Namibians still do not understand why veterans lost their identity documents in exile and expressed concern that those who lost their husbands or wives and were not officially married were also not allowed to register.

Kamwi said although veterans were not happy with N$2 000 per month they were getting, “they welcome it as a starting point as most of them have been dying of poverty”.

He, however, said they will request for an increase next year..

Ex-combats under the leadership of Kamwi and Ruusa Malulu last year camped at the offices of the Ministry of Justice for weeks demanding compensation in cash, farms and fishing quotas, before they resolved to go back to their houses.

After that, the Namibia government established the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs in October 2006 and President Pohamba signed the Veterans Act in May this year.

At the beginning of July, Minister of Veterans Affairs Ngarikutuke Tjiriange handed over war veterans registration cards to Founding President Sam Nujoma, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, retired Mines and Energy Minister Andimba Toivo ya Toivo and liberation struggle icon Ida Jimmy.

As Namibia approaches Heroes’ Day, which is falls on 26 August, the town of Rundu in the Kavango region will host the main commemorations this year, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.

Kamwi described this day as a veteran’s day, saying that this was the day guerrilas declared war against the occupying government of South Africa at Omungulugombashe.

“That is the time when Namibia honours both the fallen and living heroes of the country who sacrificed or put their lives at risk for us to be where we are today,” he said. He appealed to all veterans to prepare themselves for the day.

“I want to see all the veterans marching along streets, showing children how they used to hide in bushes and tell stories to their children on how difficult it was to liberate this country,” Kamwi said.

The occasion is expected to be graced by President Pohamba, Minister of Information and Communication Technology Joel Kaapanda, members of the diplomatic corps and other dignitaries. Ministry of Information and Communications Technology through its regional offices and town councils were busy making arrangement on the educational and entertainments activities that would remind Namibian about the liberation struggle.

Activities such as video shows, talk shows, quiz programmes in school, community meetings, drama , debates and open discussion on issues such as vandalism, violence, hygienie and sanitation will be carried out throughout the country on the day.

People are requested to contact their regional offices to submit the list of activities that there would perform on Heroes Day.

Last year Heroes’ Day was commemorated at Eenhana town in the northern part of Namibia at a place where the remains of SWAPO combatants found in mass graves in 2005 were reburied. Pohamba and many other dignitaries laid wreaths on the grave after the internment.

The remains were discovered in November 2005 by workers of a road construction company who were building sewerage ponds for the town.

The remains are believed to be those of members of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the armed wing of SWAPO.

August 2008
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