Veterans Affairs responds to claims made by Mr. Lukas Jars in an article that appeared in the Namibian Sun newspaper dated 22 February 2018.
Response: The remarks made by Lukas Jars in the “Namibian Sun” dated February 22, 2018, are inconceivable and at the same time insulting to registered veterans of the National Liberation Struggle.
As Jars may be aware, the registration of applicants for veteran status is a process. This process ultimately results in the Veterans Board pronouncing itself on each application received.
It must be categorically made clear, the Veterans Board considers applications from those that participated within, and outside the country i.e. while in exile.
It is absolutely absurd for Jars to claim the registration process of veterans excludes those that participated within the country. These allegations are devoid of any truth. To date, the Veterans Board has approved a total of 30 196 since the beginning of the registration process in 2008. Out of this number, 23 113 are veterans that participated in the struggle inside the country, while the remaining 7 083 were in exile.
Contrary to Jar’s malicious claims, the Veterans Board approved a much higher number of veterans that participated inside the country by a significant margin, in contrast to those that participated outside the country. Veterans Affairs would thus like to encourage Jars to base his statements on facts, as oppose to making wild claims obviously aimed at misinforming the nation.
To call those granted veteran status by the Veterans Board as “Jack and Jills” can only be described as an insult to our gallant sons and daughters of the soil. Veterans Affairs therefore will not tolerate such utterances and it condemns such misguided assertions and labelling of our veterans with the highest degree of contempt it deserves.
The Veterans Act makes provision for disapproved applicants to appeal to the Veterans Appeal Board for adjudication of their applications. Section 43 of the Veterans Act, 2008 (Act No. of 2008) further provides for disapproved applicants to appeal to the High Court of Namibia against a decision of the Veterans Appeal Board.
The Veterans Board does not grant veteran status based on tribe, race, nor religious beliefs of applicants. The Veterans Board grants veteran status based on an applicant’s liberation struggle credentials, which must have been consistent and persistent as outline in the Veterans Act, 2008 (Act No.2 of 2008). The Veterans Board is also conscious of the fact some disgruntled applicants would always claim to have participated more than those already granted veteran status.
Furthermore, Jars must take note that basic arithmetic suggests that, where there is a high concentration of a population, one would expect a higher number of veterans. Therefore, the fact remains that the majority of registered veterans reside in the northern Regions of the country.
Having said that, and with reference to the Vaalgras Community which was mentioned by Jars as having been left out, statistics indicate that, out of 247 veterans registered in the //Kharas Region, 82 are from the Vaalgras Community.
Veterans Affairs would like to request Jars to familiarise himself with the Veterans Act in order to establish the various fronts upon-which the struggle for liberation was waged, instead of making wild claims of leaders having lived in “luxury hotels” while in exile. The only thing “deceitful” as per Lukas Jars’ expression, is his narrative, which is not based on facts.
Finally, Jars is more than welcome and is being encouraged to furnish the names of the so called “Jack and Jill” veterans unfairly granted veteran status by the Veterans Board without participating in the liberation struggle to the Permanent Secretary’s Office.
*Edson Haufiku, Public Relations Officer, Office of the Vice President: Veterans Affairs, Edson.firstname.lastname@example.org