Swapo owes the struggle kids

You can’t hate the roots of a tree and not hate the tree itself. ~ Malcolm X

By Nkrumah Mushelenga

HISTORY has it that the struggle against colonialism and apartheid system was waged by the youths of the continent of Africa. In other word the liberation movements were formed by the young generation of the 50s and 60s. Why? Because they were the custodians of colonial legacy. Why? Because they were educated and had knowledge about what were the short and long term social economic objectives of colonialism and apartheid system.

Some of the objectives were to divide the continent into small areas called countries. What was the strategy? To create a state of superiority and inferiority complex, first between Europeans and African communities, and secondly, amongst African traditional leaders and their communities. Hence the 1884 Berlin Conference.

As a result of colonialism and the apartheid system in Namibia, the people of Namibia under the leadership of Sam Nujoma and Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo and many others, formed Swapo to liberate Namibia from colonialism and apartheid.

According to Chapter 1 Article 11 of Swapo Party Constitution, it is a mass based political party born and steeled in the crucible of a popular and heroic struggle for national independence. It is founded on the principles of democracy, solidarity, freedom, social justice and progress. The war for national liberation was fought on three fronts, namely the political, diplomatic and military fronts.

The Struggle kids’ narrative was supposed to qualify as part of a dignified legacy of the liberation struggle. Why? Because it is part of our national anthem: “Their blood waters our freedom” The issue of “struggle kids” being prioritised for cleaner and labourer jobs has again reared its ugly head in the form of ongoing protests at Outjo.’ (Sun, January 24 (2020)

Namibians compatriots, I am puzzled by the persistent negative characteristic towards not only the children of the liberation struggle but also on issues related to the Cabinet resolution on the struggle kids’ employment opportunity. It is a pity that some of the narratives are indirectly promoting the 1884 Berlin Conference objectives of divide and rule.

It is a fact that a national core issue today is unemployment, hence government is constitutionally obliged to provide, first of all, human security and employment opportunities to all Namibians, irrespective of where they came from.

For a better understanding of what “struggle” means, please examine the following definitions. According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, struggle as a verb means effort, “to experience difficulty and make a very great effort in order to do something. E.g. the people of this country will continue in the struggle for economic emancipation.”

This definition indicates the level of sacrifices the kids of the liberation struggle had gone through to bring about national independence. They have been without parents since childhood. Some of their fathers or mothers died at the battlefields while fighting to liberate Namibia.

Kids, according to the above quoted source, means ‘children’. It is a fact, that many if not all children of the liberation struggle were born during the protracted bitter struggle in either refugee camps or at the battlefields. Most of them did not experience parenting because their biological parents were furthering Swapo’s political, diplomatic and military objectives. They grew up under the shadow of death, poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease. Hence, legitimately they fall under the category of marginalised children of the liberation struggle.

On 21 March 2020, Namibians from all walks of life will celebrate 30 years of our victories over the forces of colonialism and apartheid. ‘Their blood, tears and sweat waters our freedom.’ The current Swapo government aims and objectives are among others to;

Achieve greater unity of the Namibia people, irrespective of race, religion, sex, or ethnic origin; Defend and protect Namibia’s hard-won freedom and independence; Foster a sense of common purpose and collective destiny among the Namibian people; Combat retrogressive tendencies of tribalism ethnicity, racism; Instill in the Namibian people a spirit of patriotism and consciousness that they the masters of their own destiny and; Fight underdevelopment, poverty, illiteracy and disease, just to mention a few.

Compatriots, the battle against unemployment will be won through creative, innovative and inclusive social economic strategic approach.

Comrade compatriots, demonstrating against the children of the liberation struggle is priceless. It is, unpatriotic. We expect our might Swapo Party to be the custodian and the protector of the children of the liberation struggle. The voices of our party leadership is supposed to be loud and clear in articulating the numerous battles their parents have fought to bring national independence.

We commend Parliament for approving the Veterans Act. However, little is being said in Parliament about the suffering of veterans of the liberation struggle.

Our Swapo parliamentarians lobby opposition parties to support a motion declaring the status of the liberation struggle as a “dignified struggle” in the spirit of chapter 7 Article 45 of the Namibian Constitution and the objectives of the African Union.

The objectives of the AU are to achieve greater unity, cohesion and solidarity between the African nations; to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States; to accelerate the political and social economic integration of the continent.

Fellow Namibians, comrades and friends, for social economic development sake, let all of us declare the year 2020 as a year to put our people back to work and thus open the door of opportunity for the children of the martyrs of our liberation struggle, whose blood, tears and sweat waters our freedom.

‘Where we are met with cynicism and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can, said Barack Obama in 2008.

Remember, the youth of Africa, are the collateral of a sustainable prosperous future of the African continent. May God bless Namibia, the Land of the Brave.

(Shortened for space: Ed)

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