A former commander of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), which was Swapo’s armed wing in exile, is heartbroken because he has not yet received any of the financial benefits being paid to old warhorses.
Junias Ndevahokwa is heartbroken because despite the sacrifices he made as a PLAN commander to liberate his beloved country, the Directorate of Veterans Affairs has yet to process the grant application he submitted in 2012.
To make matters worse, he says Veterans Affairs has also failed to inform him how far its bureaucrats have gone in processing his application for the monthly grant of N$2 500.
Apart from the N$2 500 monthly grant, war veterans also qualify to receive a N$50 000 and N$20 000 one-off payments depending on the category in which they fall.
Those who went into exile from 1960 to 1987 are being given a one-off payment of N$50 000, while those who went to exile from 1988 to 1989 are entitled to a one-off payment of N$20 000. And there is also project funding of N$200 000 to make war veterans self-sustaining.
Ndevahokwa, who is yet to receive a single cent, says he joined Swapo in 1977 when he was elected to be a PLAN commander responsible for recruiting other fighters from Namibia to Angola and also to train some in the country in a highly risky military operation.
“It wasn’t an easy task for me because I later became a Swapo intelligence officer also tasked with transporting bombs to Angola and to train my fellows in harsh conditions. It was risky for me because racist white soldiers were our worst enemies and if they happened to hear that we were involved in training they would have searched for us and killed us,” he recollected.
“I feel bad and abandoned that we, the true fighters that really fought to get our country’s independence, are still left out and not recognized. I am afraid of some of my fellow PLAN soldiers that I recruited and trained in exile because right now I don’t have peace with them because they think I am the barrier or holding up something for them not getting their veteran grants,” he said.
“I submitted all documents with Veterans Affairs and they interviewed me in 2012 but up to now I have not received any response,” lamented Ndevahokwa.
Edson Haufiku, a senior public relations offficer at Veterans Affairs, said the process takes time because there are many war veterans in each of the 14 regions.
He said this exercise is ongoing and if any war veteran was interviewed they should be patient because eventually they will be paid what is due to them.