WINDHOEK – Due to the financial hardships facing the country, individual projects and educational grants for liberation veterans and their dependants have ground to a halt pending the approval for more government funding.
This sentiment was expressed by retired commissioner, Ben Shikovelo Shikongo, the president of Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA) during a media briefing outlining progress and challenges of NNLVA during 2017/18 financial year as well as to update veterans of the latest developments.
Veterans were also notified to refrain from activities that are not sanctioned by the association at their head office in Windhoek on Tuesday.
“All individual projects that are about 11 000 have been approved by government, it is just that they have not been funded to become fully operational due to perhaps the country’s economic difficulties,” said Shikongo.
He continued the organisational structure of NNLVA, which is the sole representative of liberation veterans of Namibia as provided by the Veterans Act No2 of 2008, has regional coordinators operating in deplorable conditions in all 14 regions. “Just imagine these people are working day and night but they are not being remunerated, so that shows individual commitment to a cause and we need to sympathise with them,” remarked Shikongo.
This financial year 2017/18, the NNLVA operated on a N$1 million budget to ease its operation to represent the integrity of about 7000 liberation veterans currently on the list of registered members of NNLVA to which Shikongo termed “insufficient to cover all costs involved.”
However, he pleaded with war veterans to remain calm and patient with expectations that the government and the association, which is the transmission belt, will secure harmonious rescue, stating, “We forwarded our budget proposal to the chairperson of the board for possible improvement in the year 2018/19 financial year.”
Furthermore, he encouraged NNLVA members to pay their annual membership subscription fee of N$120 per annum, the equivalent of N$10 per month, effective from 31 December 2018.
“Next year, NNLVA will introduce a stop order system to each and every registered liberation veteran and new membership fees will be introduced,” said Shikongo, adding that membership benefits such as medical aid among others will be introduced in the coming year based on the subscription membership fees payable.
He cautioned registered members not to attend meetings that are not convened by NNLVA, stressing, “we take note of those trying to mislead our liberation veterans with invalid promises of UN money, but let us not entertain them.”
Shikongo commended and showed appreciation to the head of state gesture to accord the two Plan fighter late colonel Matias ‘Mbulunganga’ Ndakolo who was buried last Saturday and father of trade unionism in Namibia Petrus Ilonga whom the nation is currently mourning. He described the two fallen heroes as “brave revolutionists”, and he also acknowledged the patriotism of all the other fallen heroes and heroines of the Namibian liberation struggle.