President Hage Geingob yesterday said the plight of the ‘struggle kids’ cannot be ignored but no one should be discriminated against when it comes to job opportunities.
Geingob was speaking during a meeting requested by Namibia Exile Kids Association (Neka) leaders at State House.
Although he did not want to discuss the contested issue of the children of the liberation struggle’s recruitment into the public service in the presence of the media, he said, he was proud that most of them were actively employed.
“It is true others are suffering. We should find a way to address the issue collectively. In the past, some (struggle kids) didn’t want to get training, they just wanted jobs. So, we must start all over again. We are not discriminating against those who were in the country. We recognise them but with different backgrounds and history,” Geingob said.
Neka sought audience with the President following a recent High Court decision to set aside a Cabinet directive to appoint children of the liberation struggle in the public service without sitting for interviews.
Judge Thomas Masuku on 18 March interdicted the Public Service Commission, the prime minister and secretary to Cabinet from continuing to implement a Cabinet decision authorising the appointment of children of the liberation struggle as part of the public service without going through an interview process.
The ombudsman John Walters, as the first applicant, and Reginald Roman, second applicant, brought the matter before court, saying a Cabinet decision, which directed that certain jobs be reserved for children of the liberation struggle, is illegal and should be reversed.
Unemployed locals had taken issue with the practice, saying it deprives them of employment opportunities.
Other agenda items discussed in the presence of the media are the inclusion of the children of the liberation struggle in the Veterans’ Act; affiliation of Neka to the Swapo party, and historical archiving.
Neka president Rauna Amatati told Geingob there is a need to include the struggle kids in the Veterans’ Act as the legal instrument that caters for the welfare of those that sacrificed their lives during the liberation struggle.
“It is our firm belief that those that sacrificed the highest price of freedom should be recognised with their offspring and we submit to you, Comrade President, that your support in this regard will be highly appreciated. As children born and raised in exile, we consider ourselves to be Swapo members by birth,” remarked Neka vice president Kadiva Hamutumwa.
Neka also highlighted their objectives to document and record their history in order to ensure that history is not distorted. -firstname.lastname@example.org