As the once revered SWAPO Party Youth League (SPYL) hold its elective congress this weekend, one thing is vivid – SWAPO’s youth wing is more divided now than at any other point in the party’s history – as such, this congress presents the best platform for the beleaguered youth organization to unite in purpose. SPYL’s congress comes at defining moment in Namibia’s history. To put this into perspective, the reality that the present day SPYL awakes to is a Namibia that finds herself with her coffers dried out by perennial looters whose lust for money, wealth and power remains unquenchable. Another sad reality that SPYL is faced with is – a political elite and its cronies with little or no regard for the masses (the youth) – and have cemented the country’s position as a leading haven specially designed for looting; racketeering and daylight thievery by honourable thugs in suits. This has happened and continues unfolding under the watch of SPYL.
More so, the SPYL finds itself caught up between a rock and a hard place, where the youth body has been forced to choose between principle and individual loyalty. This is to say, SPYL has been forced to choose between pleasing those in power or remain the militant transmitting belt of the SWAPO’s ideologies, policies and political programs, which is zilch at the moment. The political efficacy of the current youth league depends whose camp you choose to be in, those vouching for Veikko Nekundi feel the league is on an upward trajectory and continue to fight viciously to ensure that former secretary Ngurare and his devotees in SPYL are subjected to the wilderness of youth politics. But we must not forget that the incumbent SPYL leadership that is often called names such as zombies and all sorts of names have been winning the political battles against their antagonists. A good example being that of the recent court case. SPYL must be warned that: “Where there is no vision, people will perish” and “a united people is hard to defeat”. Not so long ago, the current crop of SWAPO leaders showed the world that they can do anything to cling to power, with no one standing their way.
Helmut Angula tabled a proposal that a candidate aspiring for the top four positions (president, vice president, secretary general and deputy secretary general) should have served 30 years in the party’s central committee. Despite the detrimental impact this could mean to the youth, who the SWAPO politicians refer to as “leaders of tomorrow”, the SPYL is yet to pronounce itself. The reason why SPYL is quiet can only be one, the youth body is so divided that it can no longer concentrate on issues that affect it directly. The movement is too busy discussing factions rather than issues. Thus, history will not be kind to us if we do not warn the SPYL ahead of what could be a turning point in the future of the Namibian political landscape. The upcoming congress should be utilised to unite in purpose and SPYL should be aware that whatever it is that has led to its division can in no way be greater than what could unite it. Disunity is the only weapon SWAPO leaders can use to control SPYL, thus far it has impeccably worked well for them. The onus is now up SPYL to decide whether or not to remain controlled or to operate independently within the parameters of SWAPO’s constitution.