Tears, Anger As ‘Struggle Kids’ Mourn Ndatipo

YESTERDAY was a day of tears and anguish as the ‘struggle kids’ marched to the Swapo head office in remembrance of Frieda Ndatipo (26), who was shot dead there on Wednesday by the police.

The police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting, while Ndatipo will be buried at her home village at Okongo in the Ohangwena region.

Even after the death of one of their own, the group said they will continue camping at Monte Christo and knocking on Swapo doors until their demands are met.

The grief-stricken youth vented their anger on the Special Field Force commander, Ben Shikongo, who addressed them on behalf of Police Inspector General Sebastian

Ndeitunga. They demanded that he should bring the officer responsible for Ndatipo’s death.

Shikongo aised the group to desist from violent demonstrations, saying they should learn from Wednesday’s tragedy that violence doesn’t pay.

“Why should you allow things to get this far? You are the leaders of tomorrow and if you are dying today, how are you going to be leaders tomorrow?” he asked them.

Saying the police regret Wednesday’s event, Shikongo assured the group that they were getting to the bottom of the matter. But his comments were received with yells, and demands that the officer responsible should be brought to justice.

“You have killed one of us. We will continue fighting until the last bullet is spent,” said general Jesaya, one of the ‘struggle kids’.

The group also challenged the police to produce the weapons they claim the ‘struggle kids’ used during the scuffles on Wednesday.

“If they claim we shot these officers, let them show us the weapons. Yesterday, they searched us. We were not in possession of any weapons,” said Aina Modestus.

Klaudia Martina told The Namibian that they know the police officer who shot Ndatipo. “He was wearing civilian clothes, and that morning he threatened that there will be blood if we continued marching.”

Two of the police officers that were allegedly wounded during the commotion reported for duty yesterday – injury free. The two declined to speak to The Namibian and were aised by their colleagues to hide a distance away.

The group’s lawyer, Titus Ipumbu, challenged Prime Minister Hage Geingob to put faces and names to the people he claims are using the youth’s plight as a ploy to embarrass government.

“I have known these children for a long time. I can tell you that there is no third force behind their actions. They are genuinely seeking jobs. I sympathise with them,” Ipumbu said.

He added that some of the ‘struggle kids’, who have been recruited into different government ministries, never returned to the Swapo offices to march since they had secured jobs.

“It is the same thing this group is asking for. Government should stop attributing everything to political agendas and face up to their responsibilities by giving these young people jobs,” he said, adding that he was arranging to meet with Ndeitunga to identify the police officer responsible.

“The culprit should be suspended and a thorough investigation should be conducted to determine what transpired on Wednesday. A report should then be submitted to the Minister of Safety and Security,” he said.

Responding to Geingob’s aice that they should return to their homes while government looks into their plight, the group said they were not going anywhere.

“We don’t have homes to go to, perhaps the PM can accommodate us at his mansion if he wants us to leave Monte Christo,” said Lovisa Israel.

The group also held a memorial service for Ndatipo on the spot where she was killed. They brought her framed photo. Reverend Ngeno Nakamhela of Inner City Church conducted the service and led the group in prayer and hymns.

Singing the old liberation song Senzenina (What have we done) in Oshiwambo, the group incorporated Ndatipo’s name into the song, saying she died while trying to fight for the truth.

Anger was directed at Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba who turned up at the office, when they blocked his vehicle, demanding that he must come out and talk to them.

They also waved Ndatipo’s picture at Mbumba through the vehicle window, but a seemingly unfazed Mbumba wound up the window and refused to step out. His chauffeur was forced to make a U-turn when the group refused to let them through.

Khomas regional crime investigation coordinator, deputy commissioner Silvanus Nghishidimbwa yesterday said it will take a while to establish who shot Ndatipo, since there are other investigations going on.

“We are dealing with a complex case. We only have 10 officers dealing with the investigation. Therefore, one cannot expect these investigations of the ‘struggle kids’ to be finished in one day,” said Nghishidimbwa.

The RDP secretary general, Mike Kavekotora, yesterday told the media that he was not surprised with the incident.

“If the police are protecting Swapo, they must come out in public so that we know that we are on our own. This incident is a demonstration that Swapo is only protecting Swapo,” said Kavekotora.

He also said the principles of democracy have been compromised and that Swapo had waited for something like this to act.

“The ‘struggle kids’ were here all along, and the Swapo people had entertained them. This mess is their own creation and some people should have been fired. ‘Ndeitunga himself should have been fired. Who gave the orders?” said Kavekotora.

RDP youth league secretary general, Monica Nambelela, also said she sympathises with the ‘struggle kids’ because she lost her parents for the freedom of the country.

“What happened is a clear example that our country is not as stable as we assume. They silenced a child with the same bullet that her father paid for our freedom,” said Nambelela.

She further said that it would have been better if the money used to repatriate the dead bodies of the liberation struggle heroes was used to finance their children.

“What good is it that we proclaim the dead heroes if their children continue to eat dust while money is used to feed fat cats? It is high time we get our priorities straight,” said a tearful Nambelela. “The cracks were there but they waited too long. Now an innocent life is lost. I am sure that if her parents were here, she would not have died this way. Her parents would have taken that bullet for her.”

Source : The Namibian