Pohamba Says No to Ex-SWATF Soldiers

FORMER South West African Territory Forces and Koevoet members who want to be accorded veterans’ status will not succeed with their request, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said on Wednesday.

Speaking during the unveiling of six statues of former Swapo veterans at Omugulu-Gwombashe in the north, Pohamba said he would even tell his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma not to give the former colonial regime’s soldiers any recognition.

The President said it is absurd that the former SWATF and Koevoet members, who fought against Swapo’s military wing – the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) – now want money from the government.

“That I will not do. They can go to the bush, where we will meet them. They are asking for money from Minister Nickey Iyambo. No, no, no. They can receive normal pension money like other citizens, but no veterans’ money. They can go to South Africa but there too, I will tell Zuma not to declare them veterans or give them veterans’ money,” Pohamba told the gathering.

He said even though he will retire next March, he will tell the next president not to recognise the former SWATF and Koevoet members.

“They must not open old wounds, especially when we were the ones seeing bodies or remains of our people killed by those coming in from other countries. They must remember that we have forgiven but not forgotten,” Pohamba said.

He used the platform to urge political parties, their leaders, members and supporters to ensure that the upcoming elections and campaigns are not accompanied by violence and intimidation.

“We are brothers and sisters and we have to do things in a responsible way,” Pohamba said.

Source : The Namibian