Selma Ikela WINDHOEK/OSHAKATI/KATIMA MULILO – Unemployed graduates took to the streets across the country on Friday, donning their graduation gowns and demanding that the government fill vacant posts in the public service. They further asked the government to transform the agricultural sector as the country still imports most of its food from neighbouring countries. In Oshakati about 25 graduates turned up for the demonstration, where they walked from Yetu shopping complex to the offices of the Oshana Regional Council to hand a petition to administrative control officer Moses Matatias. Many of the unemployed graduates who demonstrated in Oshakati said they hold qualifications in hospitality and human resource management from the International University of Management. Although some were employed as temporary teachers, they demand of government to integrate them into jobs of their specialisation. Matatias urged the graduates who have not yet registered their names with the governor’s office to do so. In Katima Mulilo a handful of graduates handed a petition to the governor of Zambezi, Lawrence Sampofu. The graduates in Katima Mulilo said they hold diploma qualifications in local government studies and degrees in arts, sociology and industrial psychology. In Windhoek the graduates demanded that the government respond to their plight by the end of the week. The group that demonstrated in Windhoek consisted of graduates from local universities, colleges and those who studied in India, Ukraine, Malaysia, and Russia, with qualifications in education, nursing, accounting, agriculture, law and business administration. In Windhoek, Mateus Ndalipo Kaholongo, the director of inter-government coordination in the Office of the Prime Minister, received the petition. Kaholongo was also given a list of about 800 unemployed graduates. Kaholongo assured the group that the petition will reach the highest authority. Reading the petition on behalf of the group, Johannes Kondjeleni asked the government to increase the employment rate of graduates as over the past years many government employees have passed on, resigned or retired. “We demand that all posts that are not filled with immediate effect be filled by graduates that are sitting at home. Many of us have done internship and apprenticeship that prepared us for the job market. A placement process should commence in order for us to assist government in its current situation. It is key that new brains and energy be injected in the system to defeat the status quo,” said Kondjeleni. The group further demanded that unemployed agricultural graduates be placed in relevant agricultural jobs. “The high failure in our green schemes is a result of not placing knowledgeable people in the correct places. We ought to invest more in food security and encourage our graduates to enter the entrepreneurial sector,” said Kondjeleni. Kondjeleni added that they are aware that there are Namibian Defence Force members and police officers who were placed in anti-poaching duties while unemployed graduates who specialised in nature conservation are sitting at home. He said they are aware these officials have been trained in basic nature conservation methods. “This is a deliberate act by the government and selfishness of those in power because they do not want to recruit the right candidates, as they do not want to accord them economic independence. We demand that these soldiers return to their normal work with immediate effect and unemployed graduates be placed in these positions,” the group demanded. One of the protestors, a 2016 master degree graduate in project management from the University of Malaya, Mweendeleli Ahtisaari, has struggled for the past two years to get employment. He studied through a scholarship from the Malaysian government. “The bad thing is, if you studied through scholarship they put restrictions to work in your home country before you move out to get a job. I cannot move to Europe to look for job. I am stuck here for five years,” said Ahtisaari. – Additional reporting by Nuusita Ashipala in Oshakati and Aron Mushaukwa in Katima Mulilo.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-23 09:09:18 11 months ago