By John Ekongo
Algerian-based youth activist Mandela Kapere is more than certain to assume leadership of the National Youth Council, after receiving full backing from the Swapo party youth league (SPYL), New Era has learned.
New Era has it on good authority that during an SPYL National Executive Committee (NEC) gathering last Wednesday evening, Kapere’s ascension to the biggest youth position in the country got the blessing of some die-hard SPYL cadres.
It was widely speculated that Kapere’s opponents for the endorsement, Veiko Nekundi and Julius Namoloh, were also in the run for endorsement from the SPYL. All three are members of the SPYL.
Backing by the SPYL means that a candidate has majority backing given SPYL’s influence and heavy muscle in the youth entity. In the past, all candidates that went on to lead the NYC had received superior backing from SPYL, with the exception of founding SG Phanuel Kaapama.
“All Swapo Party Youth League members are thus directed to support the candidature of Comrade Mandela Kapere for the position of Acting Secretary General at the NYC,” reads a statement signed on behalf of SPYL by Jutta Shikomba, the Deputy SG of SPYL.
What this means is that come month end, Kapere will be introduced to members of the Representative Council (RC) of the NYC, as a standing candidate for the position.
Despite this advantageous position, the struggle is far from over, as the RC can also throw in a candidate if they so wish to oppose Kapere.
But according to sources, this is unlikely because most affiliated organisations are said to have favoured Kapere as replacement for Juliet Kavetuna, as opposed to Namoloh, an accountant by profession and longstanding employee of the NYC and Nekundi a member of the SPYL Central Committee, NEC and its Secretary for Economic Affairs.
On the other hand, sources have revealed that Namoloh has received support from the youth forums of Karas and Caprivi to run for the position as well. This comes after the decision of SPYL not to endorse Namoloh. Initially, all three SPYL members expected nomination from the SPYL.
“I have received backing from the Regional Youth Forums of Caprivi, Ohangwena, Karas and Khomas, and I am standing for the position,” replied Namoloh when asked to comment.
This time he continued: “I am not going to compromise, and I don’t doubt my competence and equally there are number of young people out there who know my capabilities – I have proven myself at the youth council.”
Namoloh maintains that in terms of popularity, he has no point to prove, given that during the last SPYL congress he emerged as the third best candidate for central committee membership.
National Unity for Democratic Organisation (NUDO) Youth League Secretary for External Affairs Brain Riruako revealed, “If they endorsed Kapere, we will provide our full backing to Mandela Kapere, 110 percent for the position of the SG of NYC. We believe that radical changes will take place at the NYC under the leadership of Kapere.”
The NYC has given this coming Tuesday as the deadline for nomination of candidates. The RC will meet on Saturday, May 31 to elect the Acting SG.
Attempts to seek comment from Kapere were futile as it is reported that he is currently in Mozambique, and is only expected back on Tuesday
Meanwhile, another candidate Gomotsang Mokaleng Kuzeeko of the Ikopeleng Youth Association who was a challenger to Kavetuna during the last General Youth Assembly in 2005 plans to stand.
Whoever gets elected after the RC will only act until the General Youth Assembly, which is scheduled to take place immediately after the new National Youth Council Bill is tabled by Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Minister, Willem Konjore.
The youth ministry said earlier that the Bill might be gazetted in August this year. The General Youth Assembly was expected to meet in December next year, but has since been placed on hold to await the tabling of the Bill.