Political analysts have said there is a need to acknowledge ex- Koevoet ﬁghters in a different category apart from veterans for national reconciliation and solidarity, as the nation enters into the Heroes Day celebration mood.
SWA Ex Koevoet ﬁghters have been scorned at every turn for ﬁghting along side the enemy due to reasons beyond their control, and there is a need to ﬁnd a category to acknowledge them as Namibians even though there is no way they can be given veteran status, Political analysts Ndumba Kamwanya has told The Villager.
“We need to ﬁnd a way on how to accommodate them in the whole process but not as veterans necessarily. Something has to be worked out. But I think it is a hard-shell because of what they chose to do during the liberation of Namibia automatically disqualiﬁes them from getting the veteran’s status,” he said.
He added that the SWA Koevoet ex-ﬁ ghters should not be treated as outcasts for what happened in the past but their call should be heard and plans are made to treat them as Namibians regardless of what happened.
Political analyst Dr Hoze Riruako also reiterated that although they fought outside the ring of Namibian liberation ﬁghters the state needs to ﬁnd a way to look into the outcry of SWA ex Koevoet.
“They are still Namibians and what happened in the past was very wrong but what I can say is that there can be a way to look into their out-cry, they are senior citizens of Namibia and are not based in South Africa.
Meaning that they have not been given any compensation for ﬁghting against Namibians during the armed liberation struggle and they are here now, so we need to do something about it,” he said.
He further added that a special category could be set up for the ex SWA Koevoet ﬁghters just to help them survive on a daily basis since they did not beneﬁt anything from anywhere after 27 years of independence.
However, Riruako stated that the Ex Koevoet ﬁghters need to go back to their respective towns and form a group and approach the state in a manner which will not have them accused of demanding from the state after ﬁghting alongside the enemy.
“They need to start organising themselves and apologise for what happened, we all are aware that it was not easy back then as they were forced into ﬁghting alongside the enemy, it was either that or their life circumstances in most of the cases. One can not say it was a right or wrong decision as things were very different back then,” he said.
He further added that many Namibians died due to information exposed by SWA ex Koevoet ﬁghters to the SWA militaries but this is now all in the past, and Namibia has been independent for years and punishing a person for past mistakes for a long time is not healthy.
Meanwhile, Namibia is celebrating sacriﬁces and legacy of its Heroes of the liberation struggle this week in Oshakati in the Oshana region where the Head of State Dr Hage Geingob is expected to deliver the keynote address. Heroes Day is celebrated annually on 26 August; the day commemorates the Namibian war of Independence which began on 26 August 1966 at Omuguluwombashe.