By Eliaser Ndeyanale
WAR veterans who in recent years demanded and got a lump sum of N$50 000 each and N$200 000 for projects of their choice are now demanding more money for taking part in the liberation war.
They made the demand at a meeting which was organised by the Namibia National Liberation Veteran Association (NNLVA) Khomas regional branch on Saturday at UN Platz in Katutura, where about 120 ex-PLAN fighters gathered to discuss wide range of issues they want the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to deliberate on.
A veteran who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said the N$200 000 for the projects and monthly grants that ranges between N$2 200, N$3 000 and N$4 000 should be increased because of high inflation.
He also said the Department of Veterans’ Affairs should address the reason why the money takes long to be disbursed.
Contacted for comment on Permanent Secretary in the Vice President’s Office Ambassador Hopelong Iipinge refused to go into details saying that the department was aware of the war veterans’ plea and it is consulting on whether the pay-outs are going to be increased or not.
The veterans also rejected the provision in the Veterans Act which states that the qualifications of members of the management organ of the association must be those who served as commanders during the war of the liberation struggle of a unit not lower than that of a detachment, veterans who served as commissioners, colonels or diplomats; saying such is in contrast with article 10 of the Namibian Constitution.
“We don’t want commanders and commissioners; want someone who will represent the interest of ex-soldiers. The commissioners and commanders were against the association in 2008.”
The former fighters also took a swipe at the ruling party accusing it of having “thrown them away” and failing to give them money they were promised by the United Nations.
“Swapo must give us money that was earmarked for rehabilitation and resettlement … they must not wait for us to die. We were fighting for peace and after we gained independence it’s only some that are benefitting,” said an ex-combatant who also added her voice on the matter.
“We were promised that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs was going to pay for tertiary education for our children, now they are saying one biological parent must be dead for a child to get a financial assistance; we don’t want such things.
“Our children who were born in exile should also be recognised as war veterans.”
The veterans also want founding President Sam Nujoma, former President Hifikepunye Pohamba who was Swapo party secretary of finance at the time, President Hage Geingob and Hidipo Hamutenya then secretary of information to explain where the money from UN disappeared to.
“We were only given a R10 and a pot. What happened to the money that was meant for rehabilitation and resettlement?” another veteran queried.
Early this year Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba was clueless when quizzed about the matter.
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