The National Youth Council wants the African Union Commission(AUC)and the Pan-African Youth Union(PYU) to smoke the peace pipe to ensure that the African youth are not disenfranchised.
The call comes after the AUC issued a statement denouncing the leadership of its youth wing, – the Pan African Youth Union (PYU) last month.
The PYU is the coordinating body of youth organizations across Africa and serves as an advisory entity on youth matters to the AUC. Its formation was a result of a joint decision by African Heads of States in 2006 and it is headquartered in Khartoum, Sudan. Hence, the National Youth Council of Namibia (NYC) is an affiliate of the PYU.
The feud emanated from the PYU congress held in Sudan in December 2017 which resulted in contestations over the election results of the new Executive Committee, led by Francine Muyumba, who has been President since 2014.
Muyumba, hails from Democratic Republic of Congo and is a graduate from the University of Namibia (UNAM) with an (honours) Bachelors of Arts degree.
According to the AUC, its position is motivated by allegations of no quorum being met because only 29 out of 55 AU members were present at Congress while 10 of the 29 Member States present boycotted the election due to allegations of manipulation of the election process. Furthermore, it is alleged that the eligibility of the candidates was suspect thus tainting the entire election process.
PYU’s secretary general Souleymane Sidibe said that the youth body will not be distracted by the AU’s position and called on the AU Commission to review the decision “which aims to destroy the leadership of young people on the continent.”
“The Pan African Youth Union will never be intimidated by any accusations and defamatory decisions, influenced by individuals who do not accept losing elections,” said Sidibe in a press release dated 20 January 2018.
In an attempt to quash claims that a quorum was not met, the PYU said more than 32 member states attended the elective congress and not 29 as claimed by the AUC. It further added that less than 45 African countries have NYCs who are full members of PYU with voting power.
The rejected PYU leadership countered in writing that the position of the AU was baseless and instead aimed to destabilise the youth Union. It further alleged that this position declared on the eve of the Head of States Summit, is insincere and aims to alienate the PYU and as such negatively influence the adoption of “implementation of the African Youth Development Fund” advocated for by the youth. Furthermore, the PYU maintained that the elections were credible and democratic.
Former Vice President of the PYU, Mandela Kapere, who is also the Executive Chairperson of the NYC this week made known the position of the NYC on the matter in a very conciliatory tone.
“The position of the NYC on this matter is that the African Union Commission could have handled the matter differently. It had the opportunity to play a mediation and leadership role but instead took an extreme stance,” he said.
Kapere said internal conflicts within political offices is not a new phenomenon, and as such amicable solutions can always be pursued.
Kapere also explained why Namibia failed to send a delegation to the congress.
“Namibia did not attend congress due to budgetary constraint as well as our observation of leadership challenges visible at the PYU,” he said.
This, Kapere maintains, now positions Namibia as a possible mediator considering the state of current affairs between the AU and the Youth Union.
Kapere reiterated that the PYU is a crucial organisation for all African youth because it represents the youth voice at AU level, therefore, “it is very important that both the PYU and the AU engage mediators to avert the ongoing clashes.”