Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) – taking their cue from chiefs in Kavango – has distanced itself from the demonstration that was expected to take place today in the two Kavango regions, over what some people in Kavango East and Kavango East perceive as their deliberate exclusion from ministerial, diplomatic and other senior government appointments.
Some of the people spearheading the mooted demonstration are active and past SPYL leaders, who also seem frustrated by the recent dismissal of Joseph Diescho as executive director of the Namibia Institute of Public Administration (NIPAM). Diescho’s contract was cancelled last week over allegations of insubordination, material breach of his employment contract and non-compliance with resolutions of the NIPAM governance council.
Surprisingly, some traditional leaders in Kavango said they are unaware of the planned demonstration. Former SPYL secretary Dr Elijah Ngurare and incumbent SPYL secretary for labour Paulus Mbangu are said to be some of the ringleaders of the planned demonstration. It is not yet known why the demonstration was called off, but the disgruntled group is set to meet today to discuss the way forward.
Known to many as ‘the breadbasket’ or the Great Kavango, some of the inhabitants of the two regions claim they are last in line when it comes to leadership positions, while they feel that they constitute one of the largest voting blocks.
In a statement issued by SPYL spokesperson Neville Itope on Tuesday the youth wing encouraged its members and sympathisers to refrain from any demonstrations. “Our aim as the youth wing of the Swapo Party is to be vigilant and to consistently combat all forms and tendencies of tribalism and regionalism amongst many regressive tendencies,” said Itope.
Ever full of praise for President Geingob, Itope said the president has since the start of his term assured the nation that nobody would be excluded: “We want to assure the Namibian people that Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, will not only deliver prosperity during his term, but he will also ensure that peace and stability in the country is maintained at all times.”
“It is important to urge all Namibians to see themselves as part of the Namibian house and to help the government fight poverty,” he said.
“Furthermore, it is important for us as Namibians to uphold and protect our nationhood and national pride by trusting and having faith in our government system and the president that was elected by 87 percent of the electorate in the 2014 presidential elections,” the SPYL spokesman said. Itope also called on SPYL members throughout the country to refrain from tribalistic tendencies.
Downplaying the issue during a press conference at State House on Monday, President Geingob said he he was not aware of any planned demonstration by disgruntled residents of the Kavango regions.
There were also talks that demonstrators planned to block the Trans-Caprivi Highway, but Geingob warned sternly that law enforcement agencies would deal with those that disrupt the peace and violate the law.