ONGWEDIVA – The Former Plan Combatants Association has distanced itself from media reports that the former People’s Liberation Army of Namibia members intend to work with their erstwhile enemies in their confrontation with the government over millions of dollars they say government owe them.
Plan was founded in 1962 and fought against Koevoet and SWATF until 1989 when the country gained its independence.
A local daily newspaper this week reported that Plan, Koevoet and SWATF intend to petition former presidents Sam Nujoma, Hifikepunye Pohamba as well as Hage Geingob over the government’s alleged failure to address the plight of these three groups. In a press statement issued Tuesday, the newly-formed association said Plan will never go to bed with “former notorious bloodthirsty killers under the umbrella of ex-Koevoet and ex-SWATF” or any other counter-revolutionary entities.
FPCA condemned the allegations, saying they are misleading pipedreams, aimed at hoodwinking public opinion against former Plan combatants and Swapo.
“We wish to categorically state that Plan combatants, under the stewardship of FPCA, shall never – not now and not in this lifetime – work together with elements of the oppressive machinery responsible for the merciless massacre, indiscriminate maiming, wholesale incarceration and torture of innocent Namibians during the days of colonialism. Notwithstanding the ethos of national reconciliation, we do not incline to embrace the atrocious crimes committed against the Namibian people by apartheid South Africa and its quislings,” reads the statement.
According to the newspaper article in question, the members of the military units have now formed a collective group that made their demands clear during a press briefing held in Windhoek on Friday.
These demands were made by group spokesperson and former Plan fighter Phillipus Shipulwa. FPCA denied Shipulwa’s membership in the association and said he was never a Plan combatant. “It is unfortunate that former refugees are now arrogating themselves the right to speak and act on behalf of former Plan combatants. Not everyone who was in exile was a Plan combatant and most definitely not former refugees,” the statement noted. It also added that a clear distinction should be made between refugees and those who served under Swapo in various categories. “Refugees were apolitical and did not belong to any political persuasion,” as it further reads.
However, Shipulwa rubbishes claims that he was not a member of Plan.
In a telephonic interview, Shipulwa said he was a member of Plan; he joined Swapo in 1977 and was trained in the Tobias Hainyeko camp in 1986 under the leadership of a certain commander, ‘Mundilo’.
“They know I was on the battlefield, and claims that I was a refugee are false. I am a former Plan combatant, and they know it,” he said.
FPCA also claimed there are some opposition parties, media and elements that want to cast aspersions and sow seeds of mistrust and confusion among former Plan combatants and Namibians – “whose kith and keen was killed in cold blood by ex-Koevoet and ex-SWATF”.
“This strategy is calculated to dissuade those former combatants who find themselves in the political debris of RDP, IPC, CoD, PDM and other political parties not to join their fellow former combatants under FPCA,” reads the statement.
Despite FPCA’s repudiation of Plan’s intention of uniting with its war rivalries, Shipulwa confirmed the newly found group, comprising over 3 000 ex-Plan combatants from across the country.
This group joined the ex-Koevoet and ex-SWATF in demanding an amount of N$390 million that they claim was supposed to be paid for the integration of Namibia returnees to their communities.