Namibian Exile Kids Association (Neka) secretary general Rauna Amutati says they are not in close contact with the current group of ‘struggle kids’ camping opposite Swapo Headquarters near Katutura, because the so-called kids insult and threaten them.
Amutati said the current group of ‘struggle kids’ has resorted to barging into Neka offices, without making appointments, to look for Neka staff members. On Monday morning at around 03h00 a group marched to Neka’s office, where they waited for staff members to arrive at work.
Amutati said Neka staff did not show up at the office that day, fearing for their safety. The group of protesters then proceeded to look for Neka chairperson Benitha Naakambo at the Auditor General’s office, but without any luck.
Some of the protesters claimed Naakambo was removed from the scene by the police for her own protection, but Amutati said the chairperson was in fact out of town. Naakambo could not be reached for comment.
Amutati told New Era she was informed on Monday morning that the group was waiting for them at Neka’s office in Aussplanplatz, claiming they just want to talk.
“Why do they have to show up at 03h00 in the morning? How do you describe that as safe,” she asked.
Amutati said they don’t know the current leadership of the group camping in Windhoek, but find messages at their office stating that if Neka does not go to them, the group will come to them. “If they have leaders they must call us, or leave a letter at our office,” she asserted.
Amutati said the group accused Neka of not doing enough to get them recruited into government jobs. She further said the recruitment process is still ongoing and noted that this week alone four of the so-called ‘struggle kids’ – who are not involved with the current group of protesters – were recruited from their homes.
“When Correctional Services recruited recently they took 200 candidates, but there were only 34 people from the [previous] camp,” she said, adding that the new group may not be aware that Neka is doing this on a voluntarily basis.
Group leader Simeon Shikwambi told New Era they marched to Neka’s office after failing to secure an appointment with Naakambo. He said they walked to their office at 02h00 on Monday morning, so that the police would not stop them, as has been the case in the past.
“That’s why we went there by force, because when we make appointments we don’t see her (Naakambo),” he said.
“We were looking for Benitha to give back our membership cards. Neka has not helped us so far. We want her to give us our money back or give us jobs,” said Shikwambi. He said they have given Neka an ultimatum of November 16 by which time they expect substantive answers.
Shikwambi said their group is peaceful and does not make threats to or hurl insults at anyone.
He, however, admitted there are some individuals who were upset by the attitude of Neka’s receptionist when they visited the office and some directed insults at her.
On the issue of membership, Amutati said not everyone in the group is a paid-up Neka member. She said some members only paid when they got their cards and have not been paying their annual fees. “They say they can’t pay, because they don’t have money as they are not working. If they have been paying their membership fees they must prove it,” Amutati said.