- Breaking news: A severe drought countrywide has prompted President Pohamba to declare a state of emergency.
SPYL: then and now
This weekend the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) holds what is believed to be the last central committee meeting for the current leadership. Unless something urgent pops up, there would be no other central committee meeting until the SPYL congress is held later this month.
Essentially, this also means the terms of office of the current leadership has come to an end. We have observed with keen interest the SPYL of the past five years, led by Dr Elijah Ngurare as secretary.
Ngurare inherited a tainted organisation. His predecessor, Paulus Kapia, was and still is implicated in the infamous Avid-SSC scandal. Because of that episode nobody wanted his or her name being mentioned in the same sentence as the SPYL around 2005 and 2006.
In truth, perceptions of the youth wing have gradually changed since then. The SPYL has sailed through rough seas. Its secretary for economic affairs, Veikko Nekundi, ran into trouble with some seniors in the party for what was proven in court to be malicious and slanderous attacks on them.
Similarly, the current youth league leaders were, wrongly or rightly, seen as largely arrogant and without respect for elders. Clinton Swartbooi fell out with then Deputy Prime Minister Libertine Amathila, while Henny Seibeb fought with then Minister Willem Konjore. Another youth league activist, Titus Huisemab, had a run in with Minister Alpheus !Naruseb.
All these men lost their special assistant jobs following fights with their ministers. Of course these young turks might have stepped on the toes of the said ministers but the opposite too could be true.
Generally, the SPYL of the past five years has been radical. It spoke its mind and took on elders in the party who slept on duty. In neighbouring South Africa, expelled ANCYL President Julius Malema accumulated wealth while serving in that position.
Ngurare, on the other hand, has kept a fairly low profile as far as dealing and wheeling is concerned. He was the only leader of a party wing who worked fulltime at the Swapo headquarters, as required.
Ngurare had his low moments too. His weaknesses as a man are there for all to see, but he led a successful term. The SPYL under his leadership campaigned strongly for the eradication of informal settlements across the country, job creation, better education and job creation.
The infusion of younger persons into key positions such as those of regional governors, local authority CEOs, mayor and so forth was one his greatest successes.