'Calibre' of youth worries Swapo

The ruling party's VP says there's general willingness among the elders to pass on the baton, but there remains serious doubt if the youth are truly ready to take over.

28 October 2020 | Politics

TUYEIMO HAIDULA

OSHAKATI



“We are ready to pass on the seats but when you see the calibre of young people we have and the utterances they make on social media; we are worried as to what will happen to the country when we are not there.”

Swapo Party vice-president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah made these remarks last weekend at Oshakati while addressing party functionaries ahead of next month's regional and local authority elections. She was addressing claims that the party's ageing leaders are not ready to hand over the reins.

Her remarks come at a time when there is a surge in youth participation in politics, fuelled by the independent candidacy phenomenon.

“Now we have seen the pool of upcoming candidates and we can see the youth are there.

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) announced last week that there are 93 independent candidates vying for the positions of regional councillors.

Nandi-Ndaitwah, who occupies the positions of minister of international affairs and deputy prime minister, told the ruling party's regional leaders in Oshana that they should not create space for the opposition to frustrate Swapo's plans of running government smoothly.





This is likely to happen if the opposition is allowed to serve alongside the ruling party and therefore the only way to ensure smooth running of government is by ensuring Swapo has an unfettered mandate, she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said this has to be done so that Swapo can be given a chance to implement what it promised in its manifesto come 2025.

“This can only be done if Swapo is in charge, both at national, regional, and municipal elections.

“This is the reason why we must make sure all Swapo candidates at the regional and municipal elections are elected.

“We do not want people to come in and frustrate the implementation of the Swapo election manifesto which the Namibian people have endorsed,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.

The emergence of Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) and the decision by the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) to contest in this election means Swapo has more opponents to fend off.



It's not about you

She asked former Swapo leaders who are no longer serving in government positions to remain fighting within their communities to make sure the party wins.

“It's not about you. It's about the party. Let's work together and deliver on our promises to the nation so that we do not break the chain. We must rule at all levels,” Nandi-Ndaitwah stressed.

The deputy prime minister also rubbished claims that Swapo has not done anything visible for the past 30 years.

“We acknowledge the challenges but don't be fooled. Nekwa litoka oye ngoo nyoko [your mother remains your mother even if she's poor]. We are working with difficulty because we are being blocked by those who do not want to see progress,” she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia is too small to have many political parties and independent candidates, as the confusion of so many political interests is destabilising African countries. She said even bigger countries like America and China do not have as many parties.



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