A lack of ideas or policy initiatives, high turnover of ministers, deputies and accounting officers, as well a lack of sufficient funding are but some the reasons why National Youth Council (NYC) executive chairperson Mandela Kapere feels the Ministry of Youth should be disbanded.
Kapere did not mince his words when he this week explained that the idea of a separate youth ministry is an outdated idea that should be done away with.
According to him, this should be replaced with clearly defined functions within each government department to promote youth development and advance the youth agenda.
He suggested that a monitoring and evaluation department should be created to monitor the implementation of these youth programmes, as is done in South Africa
His sentiments come shortly after the Namibian Exile Kids Association (NEKA) hinted that the Youth Ministry is “useless” and should be disbanded.
The NEKA group reportedly said this is response to the manner in which the ministry handled the contentious issue of the ‘Children of the Liberation Struggle’, the so-called ‘struggle kids’.
“The sentiments of NEKA are not misplaced to some of us. It resonates to a large extent in terms of the effectiveness of the ministry,” Kapere told New Era.
“It is something that is a concern to many of us in the sector, particularly as it relates to actively dealing with the challenges that we are facing in the sector.”
He further said one major challenge is the financial crunch, which the youth sector is facing that has lead to massive underfunding of most programmes.
“We really want to echo some of the sentiments of NEKA that we need to come together in the sector to see how to ensure that we address this serious leadership challenge.”
It is Kapere’s view that the leadership challenges they face range from how President Hage Geingob views the youth sector to how the Youth Ministry deals with it.
“In the last seven years we have had four ministers, three deputy ministers and four permanent secretaries,” he noted, before adding that: “This is a matter of concern to us as youth organisations, because it means that we are not able to get attention in terms of the issues that we want. It raises questions as to how the youth are viewed.
“Is it viewed as important national development priority, or is it viewed as a case for us to park people?” he asked.
Kapere stressed that with so many changes at the helm of the ministry, it is difficult to have leadership and policy coherence, which in the latter case proves to be a challenge in terms of the effectiveness of the ministry.
“The other issue is that of underfunding and we agree that the ministry is grossly underfunded. And this not just affecting the NYC, but the National Youth Services and the programmes of the ministry. It also affects our colleagues in sport and the crisis there is really a concern to us, especially with the issue of the Namibian Premier League (NPL).”
“I have spoken to the chairperson of the NPL and he told me that there are almost 6 000 registered football players that are now in limbo.
“The national team is in limbo and the fact that we do not have some proactive leadership around the issue is very concerning and disconcerting.
“We believe that some the issues affecting the sector are not addressed with the seriousness they deserve, due to the fact that we have such a high rotation within the leadership of the ministry. The fact is so many things are not moving.”