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Sore losers

21 March 2013
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WHERE there’s smoke there’s fire. When things happen, they happen for a reason.
This makes one wonder, why there is this sudden wave of unprecedented unrest among the so-called ‘Children of the Struggle’ – sometimes simply known as struggle kids.

 

The level of agitation among the struggle kids has reached such fever pitch that it has now culminated in their issuing an ultimatum to Government to engage with them within seven working days.

They have threatened that failure to start addressing their demands would lead to what they describe as a nationwide strike.

There are an estimated 10,000 Children of the Struggle in the country. Whether this constitutes a large enough number to achieve anything close to a nationwide strike remains to be seen.

They have of course hinted that former members of the Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia might join them in the strike action.

Strangely, until last November’s Swapo Fifth Ordinary Congress, the Namibian Exile Kids Association (Neka) always seemed rather cool towards the more radical and unruly elements of the struggle kids.

Until then Neka largely seemed to distance itself from their actions.

Suddenly however, Neka and its chairperson Benitha Nakaambo are now right at the front and centre of the agitation and seem to have assumed the leadership role.

It started with a march on the capital from Outapi, followed by clashes with the police during their eviction from the Swapo headquarters in Windhoek.

More incidents followed outside the NamRights offices and their abortive attempt to march to the Office of Prime Minister Hage Geingob. Similar actions, have also led to confrontations at Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region.

This country has debated the merits and demerits of the struggle kids’ cause exhaustively, and we do not propose to reopen the debate here.

What has become patently clear is that we cannot treat them as a homogeneous group.

There are those with a legitimate case for receiving assistance from Government, and the Government has in large measure already taken care of this group.

Through their own actions, the case for special treatment by the remaining group has worn thin and they have squandered every opportunity this country has given them.

In an interview last week, Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing Charles Namoloh clearly stated the problem.

“Some of them were employed and they left their jobs, because they didn’t come to work, they are undisciplined and so forth...

“They are unruly and even their own families and parents no longer have the will to deal with them,” Namoloh stated.

This newspaper would not be the first to suggest that there appears to be something slightly sinister behind the increasingly confrontational behaviour of the struggle kids.

We should be careful about trying to read too much into things that might be mere coincidence.

The fact that the most recent struggle kids’ unrest emanates from Outapi – the headquarters of the infamous ‘Omusati clique’ – might however, have some significance.

The favourite target of their anger and demonstrations in the past seemed to be the then Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Kazenambo Kazenambo.

One could regard this as quite natural since at the time he was the minister directly charged with responsibility for youth affairs.

However, this raises the question of why they do not now direct their displeasure at the incumbent Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo.

Most of their vitriol currently seems directed at newly appointed Prime Minister Hage Geingob.

The allegation that some senior Swapo leaders are pulling the strings and orchestrating the agitation of the struggle kids should be great cause for concern.

The suspicion, of course, is that the sections of the party whose candidates failed to secure victory at last November’s congress have decided to use the struggle kids as a club to beat their opponents over their heads with – in an act of revenge.

If this is true, they need to know that they are playing an extremely dangerous game.

As Prime Minister Geingob pointed out this week, such moves have a serious potential to destabilise Namibia.

Those senior Swapo leaders who are instigating the struggle kids should know that they are unleashing a monster they may later not be able to control – a beast that might later turn on them and come back to bite them on their own backsides.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba and the Swapo party as a whole took an unequivocal stand on the issue of the struggle kids at last weekend’s central committee meeting.

The meeting declared in no uncertain terms that the struggle kids are ‘not special’.

Therefore, any party leader who takes a position contrary to this directly undermines President Pohamba, is disloyal to the party and in fact, a traitor.

He or she jeopardises the much cherished peace and stability of Namibia.

Sometimes small beginnings, such as the issue of the struggle kids, provide the spark that lights the fuse of civil war.

As head of state and leader of his party, President Pohamba has a duty to root out those engaged in such subversive activities and dismiss them from both Government and party.

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WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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