WINDHOEK – National Society for Human Rights of Namibia (NamRights) director Phil ya Nangoloh said he is offended and feels he was treated like cattle at a cattle post by former SWATF and Koevoet members who showed up at his office unannounced on Sunday.
Ya Nangoloh said that at a cattle post one shows up unannounced but people are not cattle and one should make an arrangement to visit other people.
“It is only cattle that you don’t seek appointment with but with people you fix an appointment. I am not a cattle post. I am a person that you can speak to, and arrange for meeting, but with cattle you don’t say I am coming, you just show up,” remarked ya Nangoloh.
The group of about 50 former soldiers calling themselves members of the Namibian War Veterans Trust (Namvet), which is led by Jabulani Ndeunyema, showed up uninvited at the NamRights office on Sunday.
The group that are camping at Commando in Katutura along Clemence Kapuuo Street allegedly sneaked out of their camp without Ndeunyema’s knowledge and drove to the NamRights office with their tents and blankets with the intention of overnighting there. They wanted to meet ya Nangoloh on Monday morning.
Ndeunyema, who lives outside the camp, said he received a call that his members were at ya Nangoloh’s office. Ndeunyema said the group wanted to inquire from ya Nangoloh about letter(s) which he (ya Nangoloh) wrote on their behalf to the United Nations concerning their plight as former SWATF and Koevoet soldiers in the country.
Ndeunyema said the group had asked ya Nangoloh, who is a well-known human rights defender, to write to their former bosses in South Africa to inform them that they are suffering. But Namvet never got feedback from ya Nangoloh.
“Ya Nangoloh called the police to chase us away. We are suffering and being chased away,” said Ndeunyema, adding that the group eventually moved to the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) offices, which are a stone’s throw from the NamRights office, and overnighted there.
Ya Nangoloh told New Era the group showed up with no appointment and he couldn’t allow them to camp there as there are no ablution facilities. He added the area belongs to the City of Windhoek and in the end to the Namibian government.
“How do I give them permission to come to an area that doesn’t belong to us? I made it clear last night – that our territory is inside,” he said.
Ya Nangoloh confirmed having called the police after the group refused to leave the NamRights premises and the neighbours would have complained if the group would have messed up the area because they came under his name.
In addition, ya Nangoloh confirmed the group came to his office last year and he authored a letter to the United Nations. Ya Nangoloh agreed the group has a problem “but their conduct of showing up unannounced is only done with cattle”, which he is not.
Ya Nangoloh said he would listen to anyone who is peaceful and as a human rights champion he doesn’t discriminate against anyone, but people should make an appointment.
“We have written to the United Nations and I don’t want to deal with the government as such. We are a product of the UN… and we haven’t received an answer yet and I don’t think we will receive an answer,” he said.
He explained that there are procedures when people claim to be discriminated against and theirs is no urgent procedure. He said there is only an urgent procedure when someone is in danger or somebody’s freedom is in immediate threat. He said Namvet is not urgent and the UN is not going to respond to them urgently. “And even if UN was going to do that, they will respond to the Namibian government whom Namvet accused and we will only hear from the UN a year later,” he said.