Why Did New Era Not Consult?

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SWAPO Party Elders’ Council wishes to distance itself from the remarks appearing in an article by Surihe Gaomas, in the New Era newspaper of Thursday, 27 July 2006. In Surihe Gaomas’ article titled, ‘War Vets Open for Dialogue,’ a reference was made about “the Committee on the Welfare of Ex-Plan Combatants” with a host of demands, with “Alex Kamwi the group’s spokesperson” who granted an interview with “New Era” yesterday” (meaning July 26, 2006). SWAPO Party Elders’ Council distances itself from the remarks that SWAPO Party Elders’ Council gives its blessing to the resolutions of Kamwi’s group. The remarks appeared in the paper on page 2, and we quote: “Kamwi feels that their resolutions are not new as this apparently has the blessing of the SWAPO Party Elders’ Council that proposed a scheme in a document titled: SWAPO Party Elders’ Council Comments On the Technical Committee on Former Robben Island Prisoners and Long Serving Ex-Plan Combatants. In the document, suggestions were made to compensate all ex-combatants,” end of quote. What SWAPO Party Elders’ Council is denying is Cde Kamwi’s feeling that their resolutions have the blessing of SWAPO Party Elders’ Council. Let it be categorically clear to Cde Alex Kamwi, Surihe Gaomas and all those who might harbour similar sentiments, that SWAPO Party Elders’ Council does not know “the Committee on the Welfare of Ex-Plan Combatants” and does not prescribe to that committee’s resolutions. We therefore strongly deny the claims that their Committee “apparently has the blessing of the SWAPO Party Elders’ Council”. Their Committee did not have, and does not have, the blessing of the SWAPO Party Elders’ Council. The SWAPO Party Elders’ Council document referred to on the front page of New Era, Thursday, 27 July 2006, contains our comments on the draft Report of the ‘Technical Committee On Former Robben Island And War Veterans’, set up by the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD) and mandated by the Hon. Minister of RLGHRD to examine the housing situation of “Former Robben Island Prisoners, War Veterans of the Liberation Struggle and the Nationals who have been severely brutalized by the colonial forces and were made homeless”. SWAPO Party Elders’ Council commented on the draft report of this Government Technical Committee, as requested by the Committee itself, because in their consultations and examination of the housing needs of the targeted audience, they came to SWAPO Party Elders’ Council, who is entrusted with the administration and management of SWAPO Party Veterans Trust, and has a comprehensive list of those who fit in with the categories of Namibians eligible for consideration by the Technical Committee of the Ministry. This Ministerial Technical Committee did consult many different stakeholders, according to specialties. They came to SPEC as we are home to the SWAPO Party Veterans Trust. SWAPO Party Elders’ Council’s comments were directed to the Government Technical Committee, chaired by Cde. E. Negonga (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development), and not to Cde Alex Kamwi’s group, nor to the New Era newspaper. For, to us, the report of the Government Technical Committee is still in the process of compilation before its final draft is presented to the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development for submission to Cabinet, We wonder why New Era the mouthpiece of the Government, did not consult us to verify its facts before publication of the article in question. Kanana Hishoono Secretary, Swapo Party Elders’ Council

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