Nujoma Praises Those Who Stayed Behind

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By Wezi Tjaronda OKATANA Founding President and Swapo President, Dr Sam Nujoma, has rejected claims of the United Nations’ involvement in the compensation of ex-combatants. Nujoma was speaking at Okatana in the Oshana Region on Saturday during the commemoration of Heroes’ Day that brought together inhabitants of the four north-central regions of Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto. Nujoma said Plan, Swapo’s military wing, was never funded by the UN and that the party was not aware of any agreement reached with the global body to compensate the former fighters. “Therefore, hallucinations purporting to the involvement of the United Nations in the affairs of Plan should be rejected with the contempt they deserve,” he told hundreds of people that braved the heat to commemorate the event. He warned people against being used by what he called “unscrupulous elements within society masquerading as the so-called committee on ex-combatants”, adding that the leadership of Plan, including those that were recalled from the frontlines, were well known by all and sundry. “The so-called committee on ex-combatants has no support of either the Swapo Party or the government. It should not be allowed to hijack the programmes that the Swapo Party government is busy with regarding finding a lasting solution to the plight of ex-combatants.” Apart from addressing the ex-combatants issue, Nujoma also spoke at length about violence against women and children, shebeens, education, economic independence, the railway extension project and the valued contribution that Namibians who stayed within Namibia during the struggle made regarding independence. He also briefed people at the meeting on President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s response to the demands of the ex-fighters. Nujoma paid tribute to Namibians who stayed within Namibia during the liberation struggle as people who made independence possible. He said the people that died inside Namibia were many more than those that died in exile. “We would never have defeated the Boers. The Plan fighters could not have won the war if it were not for those inside the country,” Nujoma said The former president said thousands of people were killed, maimed, tortured and castrated, while many other atrocities such as bombings and destruction of homesteads and churches occurred to Namibians that did not leave for exile. Apart from Namibians, other countries’ citizens, said Nujoma, also lost their lives during bombings that arose from their support for Namibia’s struggle. He acknowledged moral and material support that was offered by the front-line states and also by Nigeria, Angola, Zambia and Cuba. The war, said he, was fought on three fronts, namely, the political, diplomatic and armed struggle, which overall engaged mass demonstrations, workers’ strikes and many other actions that Namibians undertook in the struggle for liberation. On shebeens, Nujoma urged authorities to inspect liquor that is brewed traditionally to avoid the spread of diseases such as cholera and polio which thrive in unhygienic conditions, and also to curb violence against women and children. “Alcohol and drug abuse are the root causes of violence waged against women and children in society,” he said, adding that authorities should support government and ensure that proper hygiene standards are being adhered to.