By Kuvee Kangueehi
A rift between the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) and some Swapo Party Cabinet ministers or at least its President Hifikepunye Pohamba seems to be emerging over the last couple of months.
The public fall out between Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Libertina Amathila, and her Special Assistant Clinton Swartbooi and subsequent dismissal of Swartbooi is said to be the result of mounting tension.
Another SPYL hardliner Henny Seibeb who is the Personal Assistant to the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Willem Konjore, will also part ways with his minister at the end of the month, following some “irreconcilable differences”.
At a SPYL press conference in the capital last week, Swartbooi continuously said the youth wing would remain “patriotically stubborn” and call for the acceleration of the Swapo Party programme although some senior party members are not happy.
“Although some of our elders do not want us to speak about the economic development of our country and Zimbabwe, we will continue because the decisions they make now will impact us young people in future.”
Pohamba is said to be uncomfortable with the conduct of the SPYL and has been contemplating to call them to order.
In the latest move, Pohamba called in the Swapo secretary general, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, and the SPYL secretary general, Elijah Ngurare, to State House after the President received a complaint from the LLD managing director Kombadayedu Kapwanga.
According to minutes of a meeting with the President, which took place on July 10, Kapwanga “requested the President that the Youth League be called to order, as their uninformed intervention in this illegal strike might tarnish the image of the Swapo Party and the Government”.
Kapwanga informed the President that the secretary for economic affairs of the SPYL, Veiccoh Nekundi, incited the striking LLD workers to engage in their illegal action and said he could not understand in what capacity Nekundi was acting.
Iivula-Ithana confirmed to New Era that Ngurare and her were summoned to State House regarding the LLD saga but noted that the meeting was not to discipline the SPYL. The President was consulting, she said.
Iivula-Ithana said the President saw it fit to consult with Ngurare because the majority of the employees of LLD were youth and thus he wanted to discuss the matter with the youth leader.
The secretary general said the SPYL was really concerned with wages the employees were getting at LLD.
“Some of these people are getting less than N$400 per month and it is really a big concern.”
Kapwanga was not the only one to have requested the President to call the SPYL to order. New Era has learned that the Special Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tuliameni Kalomoh, once approached the President with the same request.
After being approached by various European ambassadors on the Zimbabwe issue, Kalomoh reportedly pleaded with the President to rein in the SPYL regarding their stance on Zimbabwe.
The SPYL has publicly supported the Zanu-PF and its President Robert Mugabe despite the fact that the party itself has not pronounced itself on the matter.
Kalomoh allegedly informed the President that the pronouncements by the SPYL do not augur well for the international image of the country.
Kalomoh’s visit to State House took place when the SPYL had a diplomatic row with Pieter Coetzee, First Secretary at the South African High Commission.
Iivula-Ithana said the Swapo Party does not have an official position yet on the Zimbabwe issue and was waiting on the outcome of the last AU meeting in Egypt and other developments before it could pronounce itself on the matter.
She said the party’s politburo is meeting this week to deliberate on the issue and adopt a common position if necessary.
Iivula-Ithana said personally she is not disturbed by the statements made by the SPYL and understands that the youth by their nature are a bit carefree, expected to be vibrant and sometimes do not have a lot at stake like the mother party.
Asked if the President is comfortable with the pronouncements of the SPYL, Iivula-Ithana said it is a matter that only the President can answer and it will be unfair for her to speak on behalf of the President because they have not discussed the matter.
Swartbooi last week said the SPYL has observed in some regions that party leaders assigned to the regions are causing more problems than solutions.
He said the league intends to approach the party leadership on the matter.
“The central committee also condemned the continued victimisation of the SPYL members by some Cabinet ministers and their preference to work exclusively with non-SPYL members,” said the SPYL in a statement last week.
The politburo, which is meeting this week, is expected to discuss some of these issues.