SPYL wants youth quota in Swapo

14 February 2020 | Local News

The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) has urged the ruling party to introduce a 'youth quota' for inclusion in the party's central committee as well as parliament, as gerontocracy – a state where old people rule - continues to worsen in the party.

The league's secretary, Ephraim Nekongo, speaking to Namibian Sun's 'The Evening Review' show this week, said the dynamics of the current structure of the party did not allow a free flow of young blood into the party. Swapo won 63 seats in the National Assembly following a performance to forget in the November 27 general election, in which the party lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority. None of those going to parliament is under the age of 35. President Hage Geingob can nominate eight more members to parliament, which presents an opportunity for more young politicians to be appointed. But speaking to 'The Evening Review' last week, former SPYL spokesperson Job Amupanda remarked that even if all eight nominees were young people, they would still have no voting rights in parliament to influence key decisions. At the age of 24, Landless People's Movement (LPM) politician Utaara Mootu will be the youngest person in the National Assembly.

Nekongo and others in the SPYL leadership have been accused of not having done enough to ensure the nomination of more young candidates at last year's Swapo electoral college.

At the electoral college, the Swapo youth were again outfoxed by elders and elbowed to the tail-end of the parliamentary list – to the chagrin of the SPYL.

Nekongo believes this exclusion will persist as long as the structures and policies in the party remain unchanged.

“The dynamics of our party structure are such that you have the Central Committee which has many MPs. These people are in the majority and they have interests. You can blame me, but it's really the dynamics,” he told the show.

“We need to think of a quota for young people to close that gap. At the moment we have more elders in parliament and the Central Committee, which is the body that decides. Let us have a quota to allow the injection of new blood.

“We are not up in arms against the elders, nor want to get rid of them, but we have to let the pipe flow. Currently the pipe is blocked and I am happy that the president (Hage Geingob) has recently urged some of them to retire.”