…as Swapo denounces their conduct
Cabinet has set out a plan to find a lasting solution to the exile kids’ saga, which includes fully sponsored training at the taxpayers’ expense, complete with accommodation, meals and a monthly allowance.
Yesterday, however, Cabinet Secretary, George Simataa, could not divulge the amount the group would receive monthly.“The allowance will be paid to them on a monthly basis to take care of their toiletries and other needs. It will be paid to the school and the school will disburse it to them. But at this point there is no determination as to how much they will receive,” said Simataa. For a long time now, the government has failed to come up with a permanent solution to the plight of the “struggle kids”, who are threatening to derail public order – especially in the capital city. Sporadic incidences in which the unruly group takes the law into its own hands have left ordinary members of the public fearing the worst.
On Monday, two Namibian Police Force (NamPol) vehicles were damaged during a confrontation between police officers and struggle kids when the police tried to disperse about 300 struggle kids, who were obstructing traffic on the national B1 road between Windhoek and Okahandja by placing rocks and bottles and erecting tents on the road. The ruling Swapo Party’s secretary general, Nangolo Mbumba, condemned the behaviour of the group in a statement issued this week, and warned that the party will not tolerate such behaviour.
These incidences continue to erupt despite a Cabinet resolution in July, which stressed the urgent need for measures to be taken in order to address the plight of the group. “The decision was taken to ease the situation of the children of the liberation struggle, which has become untenable,” Simataa said, when he addressed the media, hours after Monday’s fracas that left hundreds of motorists stranded, subsequently causing most of them to report for work late.After keeping the Cabinet resolution under wraps, and only making it public after the latest riot, Simataa said Cabinet has recommended that all children of the liberation struggle undergo training in various technical fields in order to equip them with technical knowledge and skills so that they can become employable as well as employ themselves in fields such as plumbing, agriculture, auto mechanics and electrical installations.
“During the training, the trainees will receive meals, accommodation and a monthly allowance. And upon completion of their training, trainees will be offered employment opportunities in the government and state-owned enterprises,” said Simataa. Simataa said the option of training was chosen to avoid past mistakes where the children of the liberation struggle were offered temporary jobs.“They soon lost it and some among the current group camping at Brakwater and Oshakati are still seeking for employment,” lamented Simataa.
“The police used white smoke to control the unruly crowd, who refused to disperse. They threw stones, bottles and poles at police and police vehicles,” said NamPol spokesperson, Inspector Slogan Matheus, during a media briefing on Monday.No police officers were harmed, but one of the struggle kids was injured on his head. He was later released after treatment at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital. Matheus added that no case has been opened by the group. However, NamPol is considering opening a case against some members of the group for malicious damage to property. He said the police would continue to patrol the Brakwater area to avoid similar incidents in future. The struggle kids have been demanding jobs from government since 2009. Some have received employment while efforts are underway to absorb others in ministries and state-owned enterprises. About 150 are currently receiving state-sponsored training in various vocations in the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions.
Additional reporting by Nampa