Swapo Says No to Former SWATF

OMUSHESHE – The governing Swapo party will never recognise former colonial soldiers as war veterans to benefit from the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs like their counterparts from the defunct People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN).

The Deputy Minister of Defence, Petrus Iilonga, said this at the Omusheshe village in the Oshana Region’s Okatana Constituency on the occasion of the belated remembrance of Namibia’s 24th independence anniversary.

Iilonga was responding to some ex-colonial soldiers’ meeting with the leader of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Hidipo Hamutenya, at Ondangwa’s Oluno suburb last month.

Ex-colonial soldiers, who were members of Koevoet and South West Africa Territory Force (SWATF) during their meeting with Hamutenya suggested that the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs should recognise and register them as war veterans too.

They argued that because of the policy of national reconciliation introduced in the country at the dawn of independence, ex-combatants from both PLAN and colonial forces should receive equal treatment by the government of the day.

The ex-colonial soldiers also demanded to know why they had to share with ex-PLAN members the N$36 million, which the South African government paid out shortly after Namibia’s independence as benefits to Koevoet and SWATF members.

The Namibian government divided the money among ex-members of Koevoet, SWATF and PLAN, and to the establishment of projects to cater for ex-PLAN soldiers such as the Development Brigade Corporation (DBC).

“We have forgiven them and even recruited them for the jobs in our government, but we will not forget the atrocities they have perpetuated against our people,” Iilonga told the celebrations.

He went on to say the government, under Swapo, will never recognise as heroes those who sided with the then colonial government.

Iilonga also described other political parties in Namibia as agents of disunity and tribalism.

The deputy defence minister used the opportunity to announce that vice-president of the Swapo Hage Geingob is the party’s presidential candidate during the Presidential and National Assembly elections due to take place in the country towards the end of this year.

“Vote for the Swapo party to win majority seats in Parliament, and for our presidential candidate Comrade Hage Geingob to be victorious come the November elections,” Iilonga urged.


Source : The Namibian