VETERANS of the war for the liberation of Namibia demanded that the government must take better care of former freedom fighters that are living a life of desperate destitution.
The suggestion was made on Saturday during a meeting that was called under the umbrella of the Namibia National Liberation Veterans’ Association (NNLVA) at the Uukwangula settlement in the Oshana Region.
The former warfighters used the same platform to encourage the NNLVA to push its agenda of demanding for the government to pay N$200 000 in cash to registered veterans instead of funding projects for them.
“All of us, as ex-combatants under Swapo’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), are ageing or over the age of 60 and as such we are not able to run projects,” some of the participating veterans, including Ondangwa town mayor, Paavo Amwele, said.
They claimed that the current state of affairs is contrary to the government-initiated programme aimed at offering a once-off N$200 000 grant for the willing veterans to engage in income-generating projects of their choice.
Veterans, especially those who are unemployed, receive monthly grants of N$2 200 as a token of appreciation for their participation in the country’s liberation struggle.
Saturday’s meeting saw the majority of participants expressing unhappiness with the manner the government is organising the distribution of their benefits.
“The government is taking too long to pay what is due to us and many of us are yet to get the benefits,” claimed another veteran.
Speaking during the meeting, the president of the NNLVA, Commissioner Ben Shikovelo Shikongo suggested the government to recognise the value and qualifications of the veterans by keeping them as experts even after retiring from the public services.
Shikongo, who is also known by his combat name as Shikongo shomukwambi, pledged that the NNLVA will push its agenda of ensuring that its members and/or legitimate veterans receive their benefits such as monthly grant and decent housing.
“About 12 000 veterans are still waiting to be paid their benefits,” narrated the NNLVA president