Dependents of war-veterans want SWAPO to amend Veterans Act

     
 
  

Story by Staff Reporter

A Group of concerned dependents of War-Veterans standing on front of SWAPO Party Headquater Office in Windhoek

Dependents of War Veterans in Namibia have petitioned the ruling SWAPO party to amend the Veterans Act of 2008.

The concerned dependents have vowed under the umbrella organisation called Association of Dependants Namibia Veterans (AODVN) which is advocating  for the rights of children of war veterans those  who were denied  right  to benefit from Veterans Act because of human error within veterans Act.

Handing over the petition on Wednesday which was addressed to SWAPO Party Secretary General , Sophia Shaningwa in absentia who was out for Independence Celebrations in Zambezi, was Mr. Aupapa Ndungula , Spokesperson of the Association of Dependants Namibia Veterans.

Mr.Ndungula stressed in the petition that “ What brings us here today at SWAPO party headquarters is because Swapo is a party that is in the National Assembly of Namibia where the laws that affect our lives are enacted and one such law that was made in the Parliament that affect our lives negatively is the Veterans act.

Thus, we are here today to petition Swapo party to help us to amend Veterans Act 2 of 2008, part 1, section 1 (a) definition of a child of veteran.”

They argued that the current Veterans Act of 2008 excludes dependents who are above 18 years as it is only applicable to children under 18 years , as according to them in 2008 all children who were born during the liberation struggle of Namibia before 1990 they were all above twenty years old.

The petition read as follows:

“However, due to an error made by the drafters of the Veterans Act the rightful dependants of war veterans that were born during the war for Namibia’s independence were all excluded from ever benefitting from Veterans Act because in terms of Veterans Act the definition of a child of a veteran is someone who is under 18 years.

Thus, a child of veteran that is above 18 years cannot benefit from the Veterans Act because when the veterans Acts was passed by the Parliament in 2008 none of the children of war veterans  that were born or raised during the war were under 18 as many were already in their early 20s, mid 20 and early 30s

So, the current Veterans Act’s definition of who is a child of a veteran is misleading, and incorrect as it only recognizes the born frees, who are under 18 years as the children of war veterans while war veterans children who were born and raised in war zone are not recognized by the Veterans Act as the children of war veterans because they are all above 18.

If you count  time from 1989 when the war children came to Namibia up to 2008  when the Veterans Act was enacted you will see that it is 19 years that passed by. Therefore, what I want to say is that if the youngest war child or a veteran’s dependant was born in 1989 than in 2008 that child was 19 years old. Therefore, this is your short answer to why veterans’ children born in war are not given dependents status provided for by Veterans Act.

When one looks deeper into Veterans Act, section 1 (d), the definition of a veteran is someone who fought in the liberation struggle war from 1966 up to 1989.

So, we believe the child of a veteran is someone who was born between 1975 to 1989 and this is how the definition of the child of the veteran should have been stated in the Veterans Act.

We request and propose this kind of definition of a child of veteran.

This definition matches the Cabinet description of Children of Liberation Struggle (CLS), which defines children of liberation struggles as the children of veterans in 1990 were under the age of 18.

When Veterans Act was being drafted, it was to help the suffering veterans, the deceased war veterans and dependants of living and deceased war veterans. This came about after many protests by war veterans and their dependants requesting government’s assistance to improve their living conditions.

When the Veterans Act was passed by the Parliament in 2008 it made provisions that the veterans, deceased veterans and the dependants of living and deceased war veterans must benefit from Veterans Act but to this day the only people who fully benefited or have fully befitted from the Veterans Act are the Living Veterans whereas the deceased war veterans and the dependants of living and deceased war veterans have not benefitted to this day due errors made by the drafters of Veterans Act.

I want to emphasize that the Veterans Act does not say that the Living Veterans must benefit from Veterans Act alone. The veterans Act said the Deceased war veterans and the veterans dependants must also benefit from the veterans act just as the living veterans are benefitting since 2008.

As president of Dependants of living and deceased veterans, I want to address the issue of dependants and their right to benefit from the veterans act because they are the rightful children of war veterans who should benefit more from the Veterans Act more than any other children of war veterans that were born after the war.

Reason being the dependants were born in the war zone, they suffered in the war, They were bombed in camps. Due to war some dependants picked up permanent mental and physical injuries and disabilities especially those who survived Cassinga attack in 1978. The war traumas are still with these veterans dependants and shall remain with them for the rest of their lives because the veterans dependants never underwent any rehabilitation programme to heal them emotionally and psychologically.

To my knowledge the Veterans Act is rewarding the war veterans for what they did in a war for liberation struggle for Namibia between 1966 and 1990. Therefore, if that is the case then the only children of war veterans that are supposed to benefit from the Veterans Act are those who were born and raised in a war because they were part of the war as they were born to become soldiers just like their mothers and fathers were.

The born frees who are currently recognized as the rightful dependants of war veterans have no direct connection to the liberation struggle war other than being the children of war veterans. The born frees were never bombed or attacked by UNITA or South African forces. They were not born in war zone. They were born after the war.

In conclusion we are requesting the Executive and Legislature to listen to our request and urgently amend the part of 1, section 1 (a) of the Veterans Act 2 of 2008 by 26 August 2024 so that the error that was made by Veterans Act drafters can be corrected because we believe that had the Veterans Act been properly drafted by the drafters and lawmakers in 2008 then all the hardships that the dependants of living and deceased veterans went through could have been avoided already in 2008.”

Mr. Ndungula further told Caprivi Vision that his association will deliver another petition to the Speaker of the National Assembly (Parliament) next week.


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