By John Ekongo
The youth leagues of the Congress of Democrats (CoD), the Republican Party (RP) and the DTA of Namibia want to make sure that the vacant seat of the Secretary General (SG) of the National Youth Council this time around gets occupied by a neutral person with no political leanings.
The youth held a joint press conference last week, where they condemned the SWAPO Party Youth League (SPYL) for having hijacked what is supposed to be a “noble youth initiative”, according to the secretaries of the youth leagues.
Amongst other things, they accused the SPYL leadership and its members of only eying the post for personal political ambitions.
“The National Youth Council, being an umbrella body for all youth organisations and political matters of this country, was formed in 1993 and since its inception, the NYC had various leaders, unfortunately all of whom were from the same political party, being SWAPO,” said Ignatius Semba, SG of the RP Youth League.
They claim that apart from the first SG of the NYC Phanuel Kaapama, all other secretary-generals were groomed to become SWAPO MPs, making reference to Pohamba Shifeta and Juliet Kavetuna, who are now both MPs representing the ruling party.
“This is a clear testimony that the SWAPO Party and specifically its youth league have been using the NYC as a stepping stone for their political ambitions,” added Semba.
“When you look at the term National Youth Council, it reads National, no part of it says that it is the SWAPO Youth Council – it is for all of us,” interjected Kalimbo Ipumbu, SG of the Young Democrats.
According to the three youth leagues, domination by the SPYL has brought stagnation and underdevelopment for the youth, as the body intended to cater for the youth’s needs is enmeshed in politics.
The three youth leagues appealed to the National Executive Committee (NEC) members not to appoint another SPYL member, but rather rise beyond political differences and appoint a competent youth activist, who shall lead the NYC towards fulfilling its mandate.
“We believe that the appointment of a non-SPYL SG will eventually lead to the depoliticizing of the NYC,” continued Semba.
Recently, sources said candidates for the post of secretary general are a matter of speculation although the names of two likely candidates have come up. No candidates have publicly come to the fore to declare their interest in the post.
However, it is rumoured that Julius Namoloh, Mandela Kapere and Veiko Nekundi, all Swapo members are the candidates eyeing the post.
The post became vacant after the departure of Kavetuna, who was sworn in recently as MP in the National Assembly.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) will likely indicate a favourable candidate to stand for the post, and then forward the name to the Representative Council (RC), the second highest decision-making body in the NYC, and hope for an endorsement.
The RC can also propose a candidate, alongside the one from NEC, and should this happen an election will be conducted for the two candidates.
It is said that the NEC will be holding a meeting on May 10, which is expected to recommend a date for a NYC representative council meeting, believed to be some time in June.