Namibia’s liberation struggle victory is accredited to the unity of purpose that prevailed among young Namibians as they held hands to face the common enemy of the time: colonialism.
Not only were the rank-and-file of Swapo, as a liberation movement, filled by youth, but the leaders themselves were young too. For 30 years, these young people stood together as one until the final defeat of the enemy was achieved.
Their unity prevailed even in the harshest of conditions and environments. When there was not enough food for all to share, nor money paid for their participation in the struggle, unity of purpose was the only force that held them together.
Of course there were sporadic incidences of disunity, mainly perpetrated by cowards, who could no longer stomach the pressure brought to bear on them by the struggle itself. But in the main, unity was key in helping Namibians overcome the enemy that for decades threatened and undermined our intrinsic humanity.
Unfortunately, national independence manifested a new menace: disunity among young people, as is currently evident.
The shenanigans in the Swapo Party Youth League, the National Youth Council, the Namibia National Students Organisation, as well as the disbanding of the Rally for Democracy and Progress Youth League, are but some of the freshest examples of discord among the youth.
All confrontations cited above are rooted in power struggles, which are linked to desires for influence, top jobs, tenders and other favours. This is sad, because these divisions have little – if anything at all – to do with principles or ideologies needed to move Namibia forward.
If this was what had motivated the Sam Nujomas, Andimba Toivo Ya Toivos, Hage Geingobs and Hidipo Hamutenyas during the liberation struggle, there would be no Namibian nation as we know it today. We would probably be a province of another country – if not still a colony administered from some foreign cities.
The liberation struggle stalwarts stood the test of time – and temptations too. They declined attempted bribes to give up the struggle in exchange for well-funded asylum in some of the greatest metropolitan cities of the world.
Theirs was not a struggle for personal riches, but a fight for justice, equality and freedom for all. This is in sharp contradiction to what we are seeing among the current crop of young Namibian leaders.
In whatever they do, the current generation tends to think firstly of the economic implications of their actions – however noble such actions are. Such selfish ambitions have made it extremely difficult for young people to think independently.
Today young people are the principal actors in creating Namibia’s social and political landscape. But in their numbers, they fail to unite and drive social change for the betterment of all Namibians, even in the full knowledge that they are the future leaders of this country.
There is a growing lack of principled youth who stand up for what is right and just. A generation with tenders and power on its mind is doomed to fail without question in the great tasks that face our country.
Namibia today is a place where backstabbing and disunity among once-trusted youth leaders has become the order of the day, where actions are based on an unadulterated love of the dollar, power and influence, but any nation run on self-centred ambitions will fall short of the high and noble ideals on which the Republic of Namibia is founded.