Veterans Minister Frans Kapofi today said that incorporating exile kids into the Veterans ministry and ultimately declaring them veterans or beneficiaries would be an impossible thing to do as the so called struggle kids are not 18 years and below.
Kapofi said this in an interview with the Windhoek Observer, shortly after receiving the struggle kids’ petition to have them fall under his ministry.
He says only children or dependents under the age of 18 can be registered under the ministry.
“They wrote a letter and we have explained to them that the law that we are administering for veterans is very clear on who is to be assisted and the benefits to the dependents of the veterans and the law has explained who the dependents are, which are children aged 18 or below. There is nowhere in the law that says we should extend that kind of a service to any other person. We cannot operate outside of this law,” said Kapofi.
The struggle kids claim that the veterans ministry’s reluctance to register them as beneficiaries has had a negative influence on their lives.
John Amadhila, the group leader said, “Our lives are not the way they were supposed to be, just because the government is creating things they can’t follow up with. It is very painful. These people are not treating us well at all. They keep making empty promises to us.”
In December last year the group handed over a petition seeking registration under the ministry and gave the ministry two months to respond, however the ministry did not respond which prompted today’s march.
“We are demanding our registration under the ministry of veterans. We handed in our petition on the 1 December 2022 and gave them two months to respond to our petition of which they failed to do. We then decided to come here again today until they give us answers. They also told us that that the people who qualify as dependents under the ministry of veterans are the people who were born in Namibia and the age of 18. We are no longer signed under the ministry of youth because we are not part of the youth anymore as most of us are over the age of 35. That is why we are demanding the right to be registered under ministry of veterans,” he said.
Amadhila added that according to the Veterans Act of 2008, they are entitled to benefits including N$50 000 cash gratuities and N$200 000 for projects, which they can only claim when registered under the veterans ministry.
Last year the group also threatened to not partake in the 2024 presidential and general elections if they are not registered as beneficiaries under the veterans affairs ministry.
Meanwhile, the Founder of the Former Refugees Repatriation Association Namibia, Matheus Nangolo echoed Kapofi’s sentiments on age, stating that the individulas are no longer struggle kids and are old enough to benefit from the ministry.
“They are demanding to become beneficiaries of the veterans ministry. They just want to get into the system as they are no longer struggle kids. They are grown-ups who now qualify to be beneficiaries,” he said.