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Chris Jacobie

NAMIBIANS of all different political backgrounds and parties’ preferences should not tolerate the deep injustice and frontal assault of the Helmuth-amendments on democracy and citizenship.

It is intolerable that Swapo-veterans of the 23-year-old armed struggle, who for the past 32-years additionally are the torchbearers of reconciliation, peace and stability as civil servants, must now additionally qualify to serve their party.

These civil servants who are retiring were disqualified from participating in politics, only recently shared in “free education”, and there were thousands who received the lowest pensions. Like the rest of the country they paid for services, are victims of bad administration and the likes.

This is one section of the community that over the years has been demonized and even had more than enough reason to protest and march, but never did.

One of the two attempts of high treason came from a white group of Kleynhans and Co just after Independence. They were sent to jail and did their time. The other attempt was the failed Muyongo-rebellion. Some were sentenced and the leader fled the battlefield leaving the dissidents to their own devices.
The veterans stayed the peace and stability course.

If the nation owes them a debt, Swapo owes them even more.
Today, policemen and soldiers find themselves in exile in the party’s leadership they were prepared to die for, because of ill-conceived party rules that were meant to limit competition and entrench entitlement.

The Angula-amendments were dead wrong and a political debate on the Swapo constitutional amendments should not have been allowed to come this far in the first place. The idea of forming a veteran’s association is also ill-conceived. Veterans know who are veterans and an association will die with the last veteran. There is no dignity in that.

What is happening with retiring civil servants, soldiers and policemen over the past ten years is nothing short of political domestic abuse. The Swapo veterans are a group of unique peacemakers, because they were warriors. They came back to nothing and started working as cleaners, drivers and general workers. Not everyone was lucky enough to be appointed to higher positions.

All Namibians, on 21 March 1990 became citizens who could vote when 18 and stand for president when they reached 35.
Love or hate Swapo, Namibians must admit that veterans and especially those that were deployed in the civil service and parastatals since independence, kept the peace longer than they fought a war.

Any recognized member of a party who is prepared to die in the blink of an eye, but equally has the patience to wait for decades to enjoy peace and dignity as a worthy citizen, as voters and candidates, should be in the leadership cadre if elected and should not be restrained.

Even when one man’s liberation hero is another man’s terrorist, the political weaponizing around any Namibian, and especially veterans, is an assault on dignity, tasteless and wrong.
Namibians must not be seduced by the make-believe world of opportunists and populists whose reality is different from the real world.

Swapo has suffered some minor injuries over the years, but is far from crippled. The reality is that Swapo had 57% of the votes at Independence and now has 63% percent. That is very close to a two-thirds majority that the party had, but never used.

The idea that Swapo is going the way of other African liberation movements is a dream. Unlike other societies Namibians shared many battles against each other, but they were always united in peace.

No other country has a founding Constitutional Chairman with the same fierce commitment to democracy as the Third President, Dr Hage Geingob. He built and protected the legacy of his predecessors in spite of being stabbed in the back so many times by those who professed to “love” him.

Geingobs legacy will be service, loyalty and dignity for all and even to his worst enemies.

That is the mark of a man and a Namibian luxury that must be appreciated.

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