At the summit of the battle within the Swapo Party Youth League
(SPYL), the fight for dominance between factions remains supreme. But that turned out to be unnecessary, especially after claims that at last weekend’s central committee meeting the wing’s Constitution was cast aside.
In an era when SPYL went from a militant force to a pacified, subservient body, surrendering completely to the will of the mother body, there are fears that the SPYL of yesteryears is no more.
Of course, the political efficacy of the current youth league depends on which side of the fence observers are seated, those vouching for Veikko Nekundi feel the league is on the right trajectory and continue to fight tooth and nail to ensure that former secretary Dr. Elijah Ngurare and his disciples in SPYL are subjected to the wilderness of youth politics.
During the Ngurare era SPYL press conferences used to be the biggest show in town and the youth league at the time seem to resonate well with the youth of the country-both inside and outside the political circles.
Nekundi has seemingly become the politician SPYL members love to hate because of his tactics when it comes to making sure that his camp remains dominant.
Party elders have observed with a hawk’s eye as the then Ngurare-led SPYL became a law unto itself by refusing to be used to fight the battles of senior politicians and challenging party seniors without fear. The youth league became so ungovernable that then party president Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2013 moved to discipline SPYL over its actions and comments in public.
Those were the glory days of Ngurare’s league, but political experts at the time warned that the end was near for Ngurare. That ending came in July 2015 when he and other youth leaders were booted out of the party.
Nekundi stepped up as acting secretary and the rest was history.
Nekundi worked day and night-whether clandestinely or transparently-to assume full control of the SPYL affairs by frustrating and outsmarting pro-Ngurare NEC members.
Ngurare’s efforts asking for his job back was disregarded and Nekundi made no real attempt to petition the mother body on his behalf.
Many forget that Nekundi was to a certain extent molded by Ngurare after having served as his deputy for a few years, and if the phrase “student becomes better than teacher” should ever be applied, now is the appropriate time.
It is not yet clear what process will be followed to elect a new leadership of the league and whether Nekundi’s capitulation as the kingpin in SPYL will be enough to secure his faction retains control after the SPYL congress in August.
What is clear, though, is that Ngurare is struggling to reassume control of SPYL. For now his SPYL is dead. Ndjikiti[steadfastness] is no more within the youth league’s ranks.
Team Ngurare however remains adamant that the Nekundi camp does not have the political acumen to run the affairs of SPYL, so much that pro-Ngurare national executive committee and CC members boycotted last week’s meeting.
Contested CC meeting
While pro-Ngurare NEC and CC members were crying over spilled beans claiming the CC meeting was unconstitutional because the NEC had not endorsed the agenda for the CC meeting, Nekundi and his army went ahead with the meeting at parliament from Saturday morning well into the night.
“SPYL Central Committee hereby wishes to update the general public through the media the outcome of its Central Committee meeting concluded this evening as follows:
The Central Committee wishes to clarify that the meeting which was held today was a continuation of the meeting that was adjourned on 18 February 2017 wherein which we deliberated on issues affecting the Youth League and broader Namibian society.Furthermore, we wish to report that, the meeting was conducted in the spirit of comradeship, one Namibia one Nation and the unity of purpose. At least 37 out of 47 members of the Central Committee were in attendance.”
Amongst other issues which was under discussion were, the reports from Secretaries of various departments; the report of the Acting Secretary Nekundi; land conference; SPYL Regional Reports; 6th SPYL Congress 2017 and nominations and Election of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of SPYL candidates to the 6th Congress.
CC members also expressed concern over the continuity of economic exclusion of farmers in the Northern Communal Area, better-known refer to as the redline. “We therefore call on the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to ensure the removal of the redline as soon as possible.”
The CC also deliberated on the issue of the 6th SPYL Congress and resolved that the Congress will be held as from 24 to 27th August 2017 in the Zambezi Region. Furthermore, the CC also nominated and elected candidates for the position of Secretary and Deputy Secretary.
Ephraim Nekongo from Oshana, Mandela Kapere from Erongo and Mirjam Nghidipo from Khomas will contest for the SPYL secretary position in August. Unconfirmed talks indicate that Nekongo and Nghidipo could withdraw from the race on the day, a move which will subsequently land Kapere the hot seat.
Christine Haindaka from Kavango Region, Mogale Karimbue from Kunene and Immanuel Shikongo from Omusati will vie for the deputy secretary position.
The CC meeting also endorsed that the position of the party presidency should not be contested at the party’s congress in December in a bid to “preserve the unity and continuity.”
“Furthermore, we propose that the SWAPO Party should take measures to guide against divisive tendencies leading up to the Congress especially the occurrence of slates politics. CC then proposed the task team be established to investigate leadership transition in sister countries,” said Nekundi in a statement issued after last week’s meeting.
The CC also recommend the adoption of the 12 May as an official holiday in Namibia in order to acknowledge the contribution of Founding President Dr. Sam Nujoma.