SPYL indicates left, but turns right!

12 October 2012

THE more things change, the more they tend to slide backwards. This seems to be the case with the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL).

The SPYL held its NEC meeting recently and concluded their slate of preferred candidates for the Central Committee and Top Three of the national leadership of Swapo.
Apart from Jerry Ekandjo, their preferred man for the top job of party vice president, the SPYL has now added Utoni Nujoma as their candidate for secretary general and Dr Abraham Iyambo, for the deputy secretary general positions respectively.
Meanwhile, they also nominated General Martin Shali (Rtd), General Solomon ‘Jesus’ Hawala (Rtd), John Kantana and Lucia Iipumbu as their preferred candidates for the Central Committee positions.
Maj. Gen. Charles Nambundunga reportedly has only been nominated so that he can attend the Swapo Party Congress.
The SPYL slate is a direct contradiction of their principles and the ideals of youth and economic empowerment, which they seem to pride themselves on.
While rightly stating that they believe ‘youth empowerment’ is derived from the provision of quality education – that belief could even empower them to aspire for political office and give back to society at the highest levels of Government.
However, they have rather chosen to dedicate their time and resources to pursuing the agenda of re-integrating retired generals.
Would it be correct to assume that in doing so, they have abandoned their primary mandate, which is youth empowerment and emancipation when once again they advance a mysterious political agenda?
It is clear that the economic struggle will not be attained through the barrel of the gun. Therefore, our modern day ammunition as the Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma, likes to say is technical skill in the form of engineers, doctors, geologists and mathematicians.
The need for having highly skilled young Namibians in various disciplines is imperative in order to attain genuine economic freedom.
The SPYL announcement on Thursday is not in line with the idea of unity and diversity, youth economic empowerment and development. It has miserably failed to reflect regional diversity as well as all the skills and leadership advances that some youth have made in diverse fields and trades.
The SPYL always advocates rural development in all the 107 constituencies and 13 regions, but their nomination somehow contradicts their usual anthem. The clarion call by the Founding Father of Namibia, Dr Sam Nujoma, and President Pohamba to always strive for economic emancipation has been compromised, and the aim defeated.
SPYL talks about genuine youth economic empowerment but this is not reflected in its programme of action. Once again, like at the 2009 Swapo Electoral College, they have missed the golden opportunity to bring in skilled youth to be elected to the Central Committee and eventually to the Political Bureau.
Generational transition and gender equality were some of the topics discussed at the Swapo policy conference last month where SPYL was vocal, only to change its tune and betray those very same ideals.
SPYL members have not ceased in their demand that the elders stop sidelining them but then grant them the platform to exercise such power over them.
However, when granted these opportunities, which one can also assume is a test from the senior leadership, results like the ones produced are a clear indication that the youth is clearly not ready.
The task cannot only be left to the president to empower and appoint youth into various positions.
It would have been ideal if young people from all backgrounds could be groomed to take over leadership one day, setting into motion gradual generational transition. The often overlooked and obscure young people could have been introduced into the mainstream politics for unity, cohesion and nation-building.
The party could have promoted its most senior young leaders to rub shoulders with the seasoned senior politicians, to share best practices and for leadership grooming. Now the SPYL seems to have an obsession with promoting the Elders Economic Empowerment (EEE) as opposed to Youth Economic Empowerment.
In fact, what this essentially means is that SPYL is nothing more than a voting bloc organisation contrary to what they claim to be – the foot soldiers of youth economic empowerment and development.
It remains to be seen whether President Pohamba will tolerate the youth onslaught or opt to teach them a valuable lesson at Congress. The stage has been set, the battle lines have been drawn, and we only now await the decisive battle from 29 November to 2 December. We are in for a compelling ride.



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