Namibian Prime Minister Hage Geingob has warned the struggle kids who are marching onto Windhoek not to hold Government hostage by embarking on demonstrations to get what they want.
The struggle children last week embarked on an 800-km journey from Outapi in Northern Namibia to the capital to demand for jobs which they say Government promised them.
“The Namibian Government is equally concerned about the well-being of all citizens, and understands the frustrations of the youth who cannot obtain employment, but demonstrations and illegal occupation of Government or ruling Swapo Party property or any other private property will not solve the problem,” he says.
Although Geingob says the youth have a right to demonstrate, he also warned against molesting or harming the freedoms of others through ‘illegal sit-ins and occupations’.
He, instead, advised the struggle children to return to their homes and pick leaders who will represent them.
“Therefore, the struggle youth is encouraged to return to their places of origin, select delegations who will engage with the relevant institutions and start a positive dialogue on how youth unemployment can be resolved in a sustainable and practical manner.”
In what could mean that the PM would not be there to meet the struggle children, Geingob has referred them to approach line ministries and youth organisations for help.
“. . . we have a line Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture (MYNSSC) led by a Minister appointed by the President to deal with the welfare of the youth and also with matters affecting the youth.
“In addition, the National Youth Council of Namibia (NYC) under the same line Ministry is also responsible for youth matters.
“Hence, social issues regarding youth unemployment should be referred to these Government structures, and only in the case that the responsible line Minister is unable or requires further assistance or permission would he bring the matter to the Cabinet,” the PM says.
He also says in the case of the governing Swapo Party, the Party has now duly elected a full time Secretary-General who will devote undivided time on Swapo Party activities.
“Therefore, any person, entity or groups who want to deal with or use Swapo Party property should seek permission from the Office of the Secretary-General.
“Other social needs such as pertaining to unemployment of Swapo Party youth should be referred to the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), which as a wing of the Party resorts administratively under the Secretary-General,” he says.
He further says remedies should be sought and exhausted within existing structures as stated above in the case of Government, the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture (MYNSSC) and the National Youth Council of Namibia (NYC) and for the ruling Swapo Party, the Office of the Secretary-General (SG) and the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), in an orderly and mature manner.
Although the PM admits that unemployment is a problem in the country and that it is Government’s duty to provide jobs to its citizens, he also points out that some struggle children still believe that Government can be forced to respond to their demands if they demonstrate.
“However, it has come to the Government’s attention that reportedly some, not all, of the struggle children are stating that Government only responds positively through coercive demonstrations and occupations of offices; therefore they have decided to embark on such demonstrations,” he states.
Geingob further says if such reports are true that the current demonstrations by the struggle children are premised on such a notion then ‘we beg to disagree with that notion and advise that they reconsider and engage into constructive dialogue with responsible authorities both in Swapo and Government’.
He warned the youth not to hold Government hostage or coerce it through demonstrations or occupation of Government, ruling Swapo party property, or of any Namibian entity to accede to demands for employment or any other grievances.
“We will continue to address the question of national unemployment in a holistic, systematic and methodical manner because this is the only way which can yield desired outcomes for all Namibians,” he explains adding that Government policies, programs and projects are all geared to empower and uplift all Namibians.
All Namibian youth, he also says, belong to one Namibia and constitute an important part of our one Namibia one Nation and are therefore the responsibility of Government.
Furthermore, he assured the nation that Government is committed to creating a conducive business environment for the domestic and foreign private sector to establish viable industries locally, to create jobs, transfer skills and grow the national production base.
In addition, Geingob says it is also the responsibility of Government to provide basic essential goods and services to all citizens regardless of class, race, religion or place of origin for the effective functioning and stability of society.