Fear of snakes push ‘struggle kids’ to occupy Swapo HQ



Children born during the liberation struggle, also known as ‘struggle kids’, plan to erect tents at the Swapo headquarters in Windhoek after a fellow member was apparently bitten by a snake at their camp on Sunday.

The move by the group of unemployed youth comes 14 months after one of their number, Frieda Ndatipo, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman in the fracas that ensued between the so-called “struggle kids” and police at Swapo head office in August last year.

The group of about 400 has been camping opposite the Swapo headquarters, where they set up makeshift cardboard structures. They came from different regions to camp in Windhoek, while waiting on the government to provide them with jobs, that they claim they have been promised. Yesterday morning they defiantly entered Swapo premises.

Group leader Martin Neumbo told New Era that fellow member Angula Shitumbuleni was admitted to Katutura Hospital following a snake bite he sustained on his leg while urinating in the bushes on Sunday night.

“We, therefore, decided to move inside the premises of Swapo, because we cannot sleep out there. We are scared of the snakes. It would have been fine if we had killed the snake, but it slithered away,” Neumbo said.
Attempts to locate Shitumbuleni at the hospital proved futile, because there are no records of a snakebite recorded under that name at Katutura State Hospital.

Meanwhile, the struggle kids submitted a letter to the Angolan embassy in Namibia informing them that on November 27 they plan to go back to their country of birth. They claim the Namibian government “has failed” to fulfill its promise to give them government jobs.

In the petition, the group said they have been waiting for too long and since they arrived in Namibia from Angola they never enjoyed the fruits of Independence.

The group also wrote to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, informing her that they would be going back to Angola. In their letter the group stated their unhappiness with the manner in which Minister of Sport, Youth and National Services Jerry Ekandjo addressed them during a recent meeting. The group claimed that Ekandjo told them he was not the one who sent their parents to Angola and the reason they were not recruited by the Ministry of Defence is that “they are infected with HIV”.

Another group leader, Lavinia Nghipangelwa, vowed they would not leave Swapo premises until their demand for jobs is met. Nghipangelwa said if Swapo cannot take care of them they would walk back to Angola.

“We are not going backward. We will walk to Angola. Our parents walked to Angola and they arrived,” she said.
The police and special field force officers were present at Swapo headquarters yesterday. Acting Khomas regional crime coordinator Detective Chief Inspector Jacxon Kamwangha said their presence is to maintain law and order.
He warned they would not allow any unruly behaviour. He further said they would only evict the group if notified by the owner of the premises, Swapo, once they have followed the legal route.


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