Nuusita Ashipala Ongwediva The chairperson of the Namibian War Veterans Trust (NamVet), Jabulani Ndeunyema, has said the statement by President Hage Geingob at the Heroes Day commemoration in Oshakati on Saturday was merely political public statement to appease Swapo sympathisers and supporters. Speaking at the Heroes Day celebrations at Oshakati over the weekend, Geingob reiterated his stance that government will not compensate former colonial soldiers, who served in the South West Africa Territorial Force (SWATF) and Koevoet. He said government will never compensate them and that they should demand payment from their former employers, who recruited them to do the dirty work of oppressing the Namibian people for their support to Swapo. However, Ndeunyema said the Head of State’s remarks were contrary to what he told them at a closed-door meeting last year and that their demand to be accorded war veteran status or to receive the associated benefits still stands. “There is a difference between a political public statement and a closed door-meeting. This remains a very sensitive issue, because veteran status should be accorded to everyone [who fought in the war], regardless of which side you were fighting,” he said. He added that the president during their meeting earlier this year had said they were part of the proverbial Namibian House and that government was looking into how they will benefit from the such inclusion. Since the Heroes Day celebration, Ndeunyema said he has received over 700 calls from NamVet members and sympathisers about the future of veterans in the country. “I have told my people to be calm following the president’s remarks on Saturday, because he has made us a promise. One thing you should know is that we are not in a hurry to be accorded veteran status. But the truth of the matter is that we are hungry and we need something to survive on.” Ndeunyema stressed that NamVet was aware of the economic slowdown in the country, saying its members are ready to take up projects to fend for themselves. “But we need to be compensated. It has been almost 28 years since we last received salaries from our then employers,” he said. Apart from monetary compensation, Ndeunyema’s said his members were also entitled to rehabilitation and psychological counselling, as offered to other war veterans offered through the Ministry of Veterans Affairs.
2017-08-30 11:01:36 1 years ago