More than 100 “hungry” Children of the Liberation Struggle, also known as ‘Struggle kids’, invaded Windhoek’s Independence Avenue on Tuesday where they begged motorists for money.
The ‘Struggle kids’ walked from the Ndilimani Cultural Camp in Brakwater where they have been staying since 2015 to Independence Avenue in search for a few coins to buy food.
Representatives of the group complained to the Windhoek Observer that government had abandoned them at the Ndilimani Cultural Camp with no food to eat.
Some of the ‘Struggle kids’ claimed that they sometime go for days without eating anything while others threatened not to vote for the ruling party in next year’s election if their demands for jobs are not met.
“How does our leaders feel knowing that our fathers and mothers died for this country, and that their kids are sleeping on the floor?” one of the struggle kids, Benhard Nghifenwa, said to the Windhoek Observer.
“Why must I vote and who should I vote for? How can I vote while I am in this situation?”
Nghifenwa said the current government under President Hage Geingob is not concerned about their plight unlike the previous administrations of Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba.
“Under the governments of Nujoma and Pohamba some ‘Struggle kids’ were employed, but there is nothing like that under the current one of Geingob. We are not supporting Hage,” Nghifenwa said.
Another ‘Struggle kid’, Padetia Shaanika, who is a mother to three kids - two boys aged 19 and 15 and a girl aged nine - said they are tired of staying at Brakwater.
“Life at Brakwater is not good at all as there is hunger. Being here in the street is the only way to make money. We make like N$20, N$30 or N$50 per day. It is not that we want to be here to beg for money, but we have no other choice,” Shaanika said.
Max Tobias said SWAPO has been lying to them since 2015 that they will be given jobs in government.
“When we moved from the SWAPO headquarters, we were told that we will be given jobs, but from 2015 until now we still do not have jobs,” Tobias said.
The ‘Struggle kids’ were eventually forcefully removed from the street by the Namibia Police Special Reserve Force.
Last year, government released N$11.3 million from the Social Security Commission (SCC) to send the ‘Struggle kids’ to different vocational training Centre’s across the country.
A group of 54 students were sent to NIMT in Arandis, 260 students to Berg Aukas and 251 students were sent to Simon Mutumba police centre to equip them with the necessary skills for them to be employable as well as to employ themselves.
They were trained in technical and vocational areas such as motor mechanics, plumbing, welding, building construction, electrical installation and electronics.