Roar young lions, roar!

19 September 2019 | Columns

Youth without a consistent voice are inevitably excluded from the pockets of power that exist throughout societies.

Youth who become praise-singers and imbongis, even when they sense that the current and future well-being of their country and fellow citizens is under threat, are part of the problem. With this in mind, it was refreshing that the SPYL finally found its voice in relation to a pending decision on phosphate mining. While we may or may not agree, that is not the point.

Their entry into the debate is commendable. This is especially so, when one considers the searing words of their detractors, who have branded the youth wing hand-clappers and praise-singers for the powers that be.

The youth league on Tuesday called on environment minister Pohamba Shifeta not to allow marine phosphate mining in Namibia because it would endanger marine resources. It urged Namibians to stand up against the planned project and the exploitation of natural resources at the expense of the environment.

SPYL spokesperson Gerson Dumeni said the youth wing had taken cognisance of the public outcry on this issue.

Dumeni said they therefore warned the government through the environment ministry not to approve the “marine deteriorating plan” on phosphate mining. Although detractors will say that they have found their voice amid a poor showing by youth at the recent Swapo electoral college, the phosphate debate and what may be a pending green light for the project, is something that is worthy of vigorous and ongoing public debate.

Political elders, who hold the strings of power in our nation, need to be cognisant of the fact that youth, as the inheritors of decisions made now, will have to live, survive and thrive long after Jurassic politicians have made their final goodbyes. It also true that a voiceless and ill-informed youth gives rise to of the kind of radicalism that can take our beloved country backwards. Hence, the youth voice needs to be heard more and more on contentious issues.