The coming Swapo Party Youth League(SPYL) congress has set a hungry cat among the political pigeons of the youth league.
No one knows what kind of lobbying is taking place underground, yet with all the possible candidates choosing to play their cards close to the chest, this situation has further clouded the picture, at least in the short term.
Also there is a nagging assumption that things cannot remain the same, and that there will be a price to be paid for the disunity that continues to exist in the SPYL leadership.
The highly anticipated SPYL Congress is slated for August and the names of possible candidates to takeover the vacant chair are beginning to unfold.
One such name being mentioned is that of Windhoek Mayor Muesee Kazapua.
Kazapua this week indicated that “I will stand if nominated”.
“If there is a list circulating [with candidate names], I hope there are people who think that I could be a suitable candidate to stand for the position. Because you don’t decide yourself whether you will stand or not.
“So if there is a feeling among the comrades that I am a suitable candidate, I am willing to stand, if they nominate me,” Kazapua stated briefly.
Another name also being mentioned is that of Khomas SPYL Regional Secretary Paulus Immanuel.
However, when approached for comment Immanuel said he was “not interested” in running for the position. Immanuel also serves on the City Council as a councillor.
“I am the regional secretary for Khomas region and I am happy with where I am. I am not interested in that position [SPYL Secretary],” firmly stated Immanuel.
According to those privy to Swapo, Immanuel is believed to be a sympathiser of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement, something that does not sit well with the party’s top brass.
Other names being mentioned include current SPYL acting secretary Veikko Nekundi, Soini Iikela and Fillemon Wise Immanuel.
Initially SPYL’s deputy secretary after the 2012 Congress, Nekundi took over as acting secretary after Ngurare’s dismissal in 2015. Nekundi is also a Member of Parliament on a Swapo ticket.
Ileka on the other hand is strongly linked to AR and is believed to have the blessing of Ngurare. At present, Iikela is the Secretary for Health in the SPYL National Executive Committee (NEC).
According to those in the know, Fillemon Wise Immanuel, who is currently the company secretary at the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) is believed to have the necessary attributes to take SPYL forward.
Sources say a sizable number of senior Swapo officials are “comfortable” with Wise’s candidacy.
Line of secretaries
Former Swapo Party Youth League Secretary Elijah Ngurare says the fact that majority of leaders in the ruling party are older than 57 years, shows that there has not been sufficient grooming over the years.
Ngurare was responding to questions sent to him by this publication this week.
The Patriot reached out to all former SPYL secretaries to get their views on the challenges facing the youth league and how they dealt with challenges while in charge of SPYL. Ngurare is the only one that responded.
Acting secretary Veikko Nekundi and former secretary Ignatius Shixwameni both failed to respond to questions sent to them by the time of going to print.
APP president Ignatius Shixwameni who also served as SPYL secretary from 1987 to 1997 was not reachable as his mobile phone went unanswered and he did not respond to messages left on his phone.
Asked whether the leadership of Swapo was doing enough to groom young party members, Ngurare answered: “It has been 27 years since independence and as a Party, SWAPO is 57 years old.
The fact that in 2017 majority of the top SWAPO leaders are older than the organization meaning (older than 57) answers the question that there hasn’t been adequate grooming done.”
In addition, the former SPYL secretary noted that the time was now ripe and believes the younger generation of Swapo is ready to lead the party.
“The youth are certainly ready to lead and leadership is not about tenders or positions. I have seen and worked with many young people who are passionate to advance the national interest and to uplift the standard of living for all our people in accordance with the SWAPO Party Political Programme.
“Over 60% of the national population is below the age of 59 years. It should follow that the Party should acknowledge the fact that biology is not static,” Ngurare charged.
He added that unity amongst the youth was key in the quest to advance the “unfinished struggle of economic empowerment and emancipation”.
At present, SPYL has been marred by disunity, indiscipline and character assassination among members – a situation onlookers have often attributed to scramble for positions and resources.
When Ngurare was asked why a “toxic environment” currently exists in SPYL, he said: “The toxic environment as you refer to it is the creation of some party seniors for their own personal interests.
The background narrated above has reference. It is therefore important that there is an initiative for generational unity.”
Although the SPYL was in shambles, Ngurare said Swapo had mechanisms in place to address all party related matters that all members have to agree to.
Ngurare said if all Swapo members, irrespective of their positions followed the party and SPYL constitutions, there would be no disunity within the party.
“For one to be a member, you have to agree to the aims and objectives of SPYL and SWAPO Party. To the extent that every member or leader follows what the constitution requires, the issue of disunity will not arise,” he said.
However, in an event that issue of divisions or misconducts occur, they should be handled in accordance with the Constitution of SPYL, Ngurare added. Another former SPYL secretary Paulus Kapia said restoring and maintaining unity in the youth league can only be done through social gatherings like Braais, Fundraising events and other social event in the name of SPYL so that they[youth] can join hands and know that there are no permanent enemies in politics.
He also said there is a need for the incumbent leadership to consult their predecessors for guidance.
Regarding the toxic environment in the SPYL which he once headed, Kapia blamed the situation on the different camps and cliques supported by the SPYL members.
Kapia said: “It is not difficult to remedy the situation but this can only be done by party elders by genuinely guiding the youth and uniting them.”
He feels the unity in the youth league can still be salvaged “because I can see the potential within individual seniors to assist the youth.”
The youth are ready and there is enough grooming taking place asserted Kapia when asked if the country’s youth are ready to take up leadership positions.
“The fact remains that when there is a fire you do not need to shut the fire with fire, the fire will be more and this will be like a chaos and this led to individual to be the winner instead of the Party or SPYL to be the winner.
The party ideology is very clear and if the structure from top to bottom is not uphold the aims, objectives and respect of the two constitutions, this will lead to pandemonium.
We seniors must lead by example and always we must avoid revenge, tribalism, regionalism and focus on taking the party forward lead until 2030 and beyond,” he said.