OSHAKATI – The president of the Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association Ben Shikongo has rubbished claims made in a local daily that the association is in a bitter battle with the newly-formed Former Plan Combatants Association as they are currently competing for membership.
The newspaper indicated in an article that some members of the NNLVA are reportedly jumping ship to join the FPCA.
In a media briefing held on Thursday, Shikongo said there are no fights or disagreements between the two associations. He said although the two both represent war veterans, they have different objectives and goals.
“The functions and entry requirements of the two associations differ. NNLVA is an organisation that serves the interests of all veterans of the liberation struggle in Namibia, being it those former Plan combatants, or the war veterans who were operating from inside the country or outside but didn’t get military training. The FPCA is strictly for those who were militarily trained and deployed,” he explained. He, therefore, reasoned that the so-called bitter battle between the two associations is a mere fabrication with a hidden agenda.
“We have not received the resignation of our members, like the newspaper claimed. One can have dual membership in both associations. Like myself, I am heading NNLVA, but I am also a member of FPCA because I was a Plan combatant commander… so I can serve in both,” he retorted.
Furthermore, the formation of the FPCA was fueled by the need of some war veterans to seek political affiliation in the ruling party.
“Those who joined the FPCA are politically-driven, but it does not mean they resigned from our association. Ours is a governmental association that is apolitical,” he added.
He said statements made in the article in question are from members of his association, but not the leadership.
Shikongo then urged members of the media to seek clear information from the leadership rather than hearing from random members.
He also appealed to the leadership of the FPCA and NNLVA to work together.
“Although the associations have different mandates, at the end we have one common objective, which is to fight for the interests of our members at a national level and also within the ruling party,” he noted.