A group of close to 100 ‘struggle kids’ from Oshakati yesterday started their long walk to what they hope will be economic freedom as they plan to reach Windhoek and engage President Hage Geingob over their dismal conditions.
At the end of their 700km journey they also hope to secure an audience with Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
They will meet with struggle kids from Rundu at Tsumeb, before uniting with a group at Ndilimani farm at Brakwater near Windhoek, they told New Era.
The walk is strictly for the youth that were born in exile and group members have chased away unemployed youths that were born inside Namibia and those that were born in exile but have already been employed by the government.
Group spokesperson Tuhafeni Nhinda said that following the unsatisfactory outcome of the recent meeting with Swapo Secretary-General Nangolo Mbumba, the group has now decided to go and meet leaders that are “senior to Mbumba”.
“We want to meet them and offer a solution to our situation because the government wants to build a N$2.4 billon parliament and an office for the prime minister for N$1 billion. They think these things are a priority but what about us?” said Nhinda.
“What about our lives? Of course we have spoken to Tate Mbumba when he came to meet us the other day, but we are not happy with the answers he gave us.”
According to Nhinda, Mbumba promised them jobs during the meeting held last week. The SG however failed to give them a deadline as to when employment would be provided.
This prompted the decision to walk to the capital city to get answers from someone superior to Mbumba. They claimed Mbumba has just responded “according to his level” and they understand his position.
“In 2008 when we camped for the first time, the government promised us jobs, and they told us to go home. But when some of us went home they gave jobs to the people that had refused to go home and opted to stay put,” said Nhinda.
Oshana Regional Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa said he is aware of the marathon trek being undertaken by the struggle kids, as they had informed him about their plans.
Earlier the group allegedly demanded they wanted the Swapo SG to meet them at the Swapo office in Oshakati where they were camping or else they would travel to see him in Windhoek. Mbumba then decided to go to Oshakati and held a meeting with them, according to Kashuupulwa. But the meeting was not to their satisfaction.
“The hounourable councillors are every day on the radio inviting all the unemployed youth to go and give in their names in order to get employment in the police, army, or training at either the National Youth Service or COSDEC. However, today when I called my councillors none of them (struggle kids) had ever submitted a name at the constituency offices,” Kashuupulwa said.
“There are no vacancies in government apart from those that are always announced by the councillors on radio,” said Kashuupulwa.
The governor said he had not communicated the youths’ trip to the party’s senior leadership, maintaining that it is supposed to be the function of the Swapo coordinator in the region.
Kashuupulwa further expressed his anger over the alleged violence that recently erupted between two groups of struggle kids, saying that should be the last act of violence instituted by the group in the region.
“We will not entertain that kind of behaviour. We will not allow people to be threatened. They should have been arrested,” he said. Nhinda however said his group would refrain from any sort of violence and they will march peacefully to Windhoek.
He urged Swapo business people and the public in general to donate money, food and any other humanitarian assistance to them where possible.
“People should not be scared of us. We are ready to communicate with anyone that wants to talk to us in peace,” said Nhinda.