|State security threatens GIPF protesters|
|Thursday, 17 February 2011 09:03|
GOVERNMENT employees who took to the Windhoek streets to protest the lost millions at the Government Institution Pensions Fund (GIPF) were threatened by state security on Tuesday this week, Informanté can reveal.
An SMS sent to most of the protestors and journalists covering the strike, threatened the civil servants with violence citing what happened to taxi drivers.|
“Colleagues u are going to far and be careful. I advice u to wait the report from Cde Pohamba. If u go ahead wht happn to the taxi driver will hpn to u. don’t lead innocent workers in ths. NUNW and GRN does not support th protest. I thank you,” read the SMS.
According to the protesters the short message was allegedly sent by a certain Kayimbi from the Ministry of Safety and Security.
Early in January, several taxi drivers who were protesting the exorbitant traffic fines were injured in scuffles with the Namibian Task Force and City Police who used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse them. A total of 96 taxi drivers were arrested and are currently in court for defying the law.
National Union of Namibia Workers (NUNW) Secretary General, Evilastus Kaaronda, who was leading the protest, called for calm among the striking civil servants saying, “Do not fear, we have the right to demand the lost millions and removal of the GIPF management.“
Kaaronda, flanked by Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) President Mahongora Kavihuha, called on President Hifikepunye Pohamba to start taking their protests over the misappropriated funds seriously following his alleged snubbing of the protestors. The striking workers were angered by the fact that Pohamba sent his Special Advisor on Media, Mukwaita Shanyenyanga, to receive petition.
Windhoek civil servants on Tuesdaytook to the streets to protest the alleged embezzlement of more than N$660 million from the GIPF developmental portfolio last year.
“We will not stop here, we will mobilise the regions to prepare for a nationwide strike. President Pohamba has disrespected and overlooked the workers to protect corrupt citizens,” Kaaronda told the placard-waving crowd.
The protestors interpretedthe inability of the President to attend to their issues as disrespecting workers’ concerns.
The pensions’ scandal has since seen the Prime Minister’s office invoke an audit of the pension’s organisation to investigate the financial mess. But the report has not been released since it was finalised and handed over to President Pohamba two weeks ago.