Pohamba stern on ‘struggle kids’

05 September 2014 Author   Hileni Heita

front Pohambakids 05 augPRESIDENT Hifikepunye Pohamba has once more re-iterated government’s position on the issue of the ‘struggle kids’, stating that they will not receive special treatment following the fatal shooting of Frieda Ndatipo last Wednesday. Addressing top party officials at a closed-door session at the Swapo party Electoral College in the capital last week, Pohamba made the position of the party very clear.

Sources say the president gave a stern warning to party officials who appeared sympathetic to the plight of the ‘struggle kids’ in the wake of a jailbreak that took place at the Katutura police station.

He remarked that the youth who were at forefront of the struggle and faced the onslaught of the South African army were students from A Shipena, Augustineum and other schools inside the country at the time.

These individuals had gone about their daily lives like any other ordinary citizens and never cried out for special treatment, he said.

He noted that the ‘struggle kids’ who were mostly between the ages of 2-5 at independence did not take part in the war.

President Pohamba appeared to present a united front with regards to the issue of the ‘struggle kids’, although the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) initially compromised the party’s position. Certain factions of the party speculate that the SPYL is the third force Vice President Hage Geingob referred too last week in parliament, and that their involvement with the ‘struggle kids’ case is yet another attempt by the youth league leadership to acquire power or relevance in Swapo.

This follows calls by the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEEF) this week for Government to pay the family of the late Frieda Ndatipo compensation of not less than N$ 650,000-00 and accord her a state funeral.

The SPYL has donated N$25,000-00 towards her funeral.

The ‘struggle kids’ are remnants of the original large group after Government gave thousands of them jobs in the police, defence force and other Government ministries.   The group reached an agreement on Monday with the committee appointed by the Prime Minister to move to the Ndilimani cultural group plot on the outskirts of Windhoek on condition that Government attends to their employment pleas within three months.

However, the ‘struggle kids’ who have set up camp in the bush near the Okahandja Park informal settlement said they knew nothing about the agreement for them to relocate.

They nevertheless added that although no one had informed them about the move, they were willing relocate to Ndilimani, but only until 10 October 2014.

“Why do they want to hide us away for three months because we want to be here for the elections? When we vote we want our voice to be heard,” ‘struggle kids’ representative at the camp Erastus Jesaya, said.

The ‘struggle kids’ further said that Swapo had told them that it had sold the Ndilimani farm to a private buyer, and that was why the party requested them to leave before they set up camp at the open field where they now live.

“The farm belongs to the Swapo party and not only the SPYL as reports claim,” SPYL spokesperson Job Amupanda said.

He said the youth league does not know anything about the relocation of the ‘struggle kids’.

“We are currently assisting the ‘struggle kids’ during this difficult time as we have done for years,” Amupanda said.

Jailbreak

The Namibian Police Special Field Force arrested five ‘struggle kids’ on Saturday morning after they allegedly broke into a police station.

The five were arrested on suspicion of being part of a group of 20 ‘struggle kids’ who broke into the Katutura Police Station on Friday night.

They broke into the police station to demand the release of a fellow ‘struggle kid’ whom police arrested for smashing Shimhanda Alex Hangula’s car windscreen.

Head of the Police Public Relations Department Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi told the media that the group broke the burglar bars separating the police offices from the public area, and entered the station and freed their comrade.He further said that there are usually three or four officers on duty at the police station and that the ‘struggle kids’ apparently outnumbered the police officers.

The Katutura Magistrate’s Court denied the five bail because they could not provide any fixed addresses when they made their first court appearance on Monday.  Police have identified the suspects as Toivo Mwatile (29), John Shikenga, Ita Titus (31), Shikongo Martin Ronald (33) and Kahala Teobard (32).

They appeared on charges ranging from malicious damage to property to defeating the course of justice to which they all pleaded not guilty.

The suspects appeared before Magistrate Alpha Haihambo and they told the court that they would represent themselves during the trial. State prosecutor Erich Naikaku will represent the state.

Ndatipo to be buried on Saturday

The burial of ‘struggle kid’ Frieda Ndatipo, who members of the police allegedly killed last week, will take place on Saturday at her home village east of Okongo in the Ohangwena region. The 26-year-old mother of three died on the spot after a scuffle broke out between the police and a group of ‘struggle kids’.

The youths allegedly threw stones and the police retaliated with gunfire, with one bullet fatally hitting Ndatipo.

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