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Veterans Threaten To Camp On Ministry’s Yard

By: Kelvin Chiringa

Defence minister Frans Kapofi yesterday prevented a mob of Swapo affiliated war veterans from camping at his ministerial offices after they threatened to do so, citing unkept payment promises; this all a day before the Cassinga Day commemorations.

The minister had to bring down his entourage to meet up with a throng of veterans under a tree at the Katutura multi-purpose centre, where he gave them almost three hours to vent out their frustrations at what they alleged as Kapofi’s failure to keep his word on promises of a N$120 000 pay-out.

“The combatants came here came with the intention of camping at the ministry of defence. I told them we need to speak, and I spoke to their leaders. I told them the commitment from government is there, but it is only limited because of resources,” he said.

In a petition hand-delivered to Kapofi and his deputy, Hilma Nicanor, the veterans demanded a “delayed payment of a remnant amount of N$170 000” deducted from a promised package of N$200 000 as a matter of urgency.

They said the demand aligns with Kapofi’s promise during meetings conducted in the regions in the middle of November and December in 2021.

“At the meetings, Hon. Kapofi specified that payments for the war veterans would be issued before the end of the 2021/2022 financial year. He further promised that the large number of veterans with pending projects would be funded during the mentioned financial year, but veterans are not yet paid as per the promise.

“The veterans are not happy with the decision made by the ministry to reduce the amount from N$200 000 to N$170 000, (and we demand that) the deducted amount of N$30 000 (is) sufficient to cover the payments for all veterans.

“The veterans are strongly appealing to the ministry to provide the amendment Act that allows for the reduction of veterans’ money from N$200 000 to N$170 000. We are more than 12 000 with outstanding projects. When does the ministry plan to finish with the process of payment if the ministry is only taking 276 veterans each financial year?” they asked.

The veterans have said they are ageing, some are sick, have been patient for 32 years and want to be assisted instead of forking out money for “dead people” during state funerals.

They said they are being ignored by fellow comrades in higher positions whom they shared trenches with, and they want projects of deceased veterans to be inherited by their offspring.

Tuesday’s meeting also comes in the wake of yet another closed-door meeting last week between Kapofi and the Peter Nanyemba Plan Combatant Veterans Trust (PNPCVT), who are demanding N$400 000 each.

This is part of the buy-back pension pledge made to the ex-combatants, which they say is now a broken promise.

After writing to President Hage Geingob, they were referred to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and then to Kapofi until they hit a brick wall.

Kapofi, however, told The Villager that government has since found out that the payment is no longer practical despite the decision having been made at cabinet level.

“The buy-back concept was a concept initiated by the government. It was not by any other person. But (a) study revealed that it was impractical to implement. Therefore, we came up with what is currently happening,” he said.

However, the PNPCVT veterans have refused to buckle down and intend to face cabinet led by war veteran Nkrumah Mushelenga.






Kelvin Chiringa

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