Veterans Act Belongs to the Dustbin – Ya Nangoloh

The Executive Director of NamRights, Phil ya Nangoloh, has criticised the Veterans Act (Act No 2 of 2008), describing it as legislative fraud aimed at drawing people into the ranks of the ruling Swapo Party.

Ya Nangoloh criticised the Act as he addressed former soldiers of the South West Africa Territorial Force (SWATF) and Koevoet apartheid military units at Okankete village near Ondangwa in Oshana Region on Sunday. The former apartheid soldiers had gathered there, under the banner of the Namibia Veterans Trust (Namvet), after staging a protest walk of some 30 kilometres over the weekend from Oshakati to Okankete village.

The weekend march and Sunday’s meeting were part of the ex-colonial government soldiers’ protest actions against the government’s refusal to recognise them as war veterans.

They are of the opinion that the Veterans Act gives the status of war veteran only to soldiers who fought under Swapo or Swanu during the liberation struggle.

The Veterans Act defines a war veteran as a person who was a member of the liberation struggle forces, and who consistently and persistently participated in the political, diplomatic or underground activities in support of liberation struggle activities.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba has repeatedly said ex-SWATF and ex-Koevoet soldiers will not be catered for in the Veterans Act.

Ya Nangoloh told the former SWATF soldiers and former Koevoet personnel that the Veterans Act is currently more for Swapo veterans and only serves as a law to recruit members for Swapo Party.

“The Veterans Act is discriminatory and belongs to the dustbin,” Ya Nangoloh charged.

He said ex-SWATF and ex-Koevoet fighters also have the right to benefit from the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, just like the former combatants of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN).

“I gly aise you to approach the ombudsman to take up this issue of discrimination against you,” the NamRights chief told the gathering.

He also told the group that, as aggrieved persons, they also have the right to approach a competent court and to challenge President Pohamba’s refusal to recognise them as war veterans.

Speaking at the same meeting, former DTA of Namibia vice-president Philemon Moongo said he has already registered his complaints about the Act with the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC).

Moongo also suggested that the issue perhaps be taken up with international human rights bodies such as Amnesty International and the International Human Rights Commission. – Nampa

Source : New Era