How well do you know your youth leagues?

These are your people in the political sphere

13 August 2019 | Politics

Elizabeth Joseph & Justicia Shipena

The Namibian youth knows all too well about political promises, but how much do we really know?

Young people in Namibia are often accused of being without vision and not caring about politics, or taking their role as citizens seriously. However, the silent approach adopted by many youth leagues of political parties in the country has to some extent highlighted the inactivity of young people in formal politics.

This, however, does not mean young people have no strongly defined opinions or knowledge of current affairs with many involved in some kind of civic activity, while others have taken a keen interest in the future of the country and are staking their claim in forging that future, albeit in different ways, outside of politics.

With elections drawing closer and closer The Zone spoke to political party youth leagues in Namibia to see what they are up to.

Here’s a look into the leagues of some political parties in Namibia. Let this be a guide when you’re deciding which party to vote for.

NEYE stands for Namibian Economic Youth Empowerment, which basically translates to equal economic empowerment for the youth. It is a radical militant youth organisation that brings together revolutionary young people to spearhead the fight for economic emancipation for Namibia and Africa at large.

The group has made many efforts in ensuring that the youth are educated on their democratic right to vote and what role they play in the country.

“We hold capacity-building workshops to capacitate the youth on voting. Educating the youth on the importance of participating in elections is important.

By encouraging the youth to take up leadership in political positions and be part of the decision-making body cannot happen without voting participation, “said president, Hendrik Moongela, when asked what part they played in the high youth voting registrations tallied.

Only recently established, the group hosted a fun day for the youth in the northern regions where they educated and encouraged the young people to vote and make their voices heard.

Their hopes are to see the older generation re-entrust power to the young people.

They further want to see the youth get a place in parliament so that the youth have a platform for their concerns.

The All People's Party Youth League (APPYL) represents the interests of all the youth. There's a need to understand and engage youth matters at grassroots level from basic education to tertiary level, establish youth APP student commands in all VTCs, colleges, and universities, and to stand and fight for every child's rights in the education fraternity.

The group aims to promote sports and entertainment to address the current high rate of unemployment in the country, push for sports complexes in all constituencies, and push for entertainment studios in all the regions that will see the youth advance their talents and compete internationally.

They also want to promote the excellence of youth in entrepreneurship, to build a culture of adding value to natural resources and sell these products both locally and internationally.

“We engaged the youth on our social media platforms to register and vote for a party of their choice and made them understand that it's their democratic right and the only way to advance good governance that will address youth matters, and helped to publicise the ECN visits to the villages,” said Sebastian Njamba, the league’s president.

They stand for justice and genuine wealth redistribution. The white and black elites with their connected family and friends are richer while the majority of people are in poverty, thus we need to end and redistribute wealth to all people in Namibia. These were the sentiments of Njamba.

The National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) youth league advocates for youth involvement in all the party structures and firmly believes that the youth should be given political or senior positions to determine their own future.

“We are here to be the voice of the voiceless and to promote youth empowerment. The unemployment rate in Namibia is a big concern.

“We did not do much previously concerning it but we are looking forward to hosting various conferences that will bring, deliberate on, and solicit, amicable solutions to it with time,” said Veparura Kandirikirira, Nudo Youth League secretary-general.

As a youth league, they are also there to ensure that the education system in Namibia is free from political manoeuvring and to monitor the government’s effectiveness in all youth matters.

The organ also advocates for entrepreneurship amongst the youth, especially those from the less privileged communities. Namibians must be employment providers and in doing that they lessen pressure on the government.

The league continues to have various public meetings and capacity-building workshops on educating young people countrywide on what their roles as citizens are.

“Recently, on 1 June 2019, we held a mass meeting where we lectured the youth to register during the previous supplementary registration. The youth league is proactively on social media to sensitise the youth on the significance of exercising their democratic right, and voting,” he said.

In their busy schedule, they are looking forward to having various platforms before the elections that will bring youth together and continue to educate them.

They hope to ensure that they groom young people that will be able to be elected into the party offices by 2024 congress, for the party to have more youth in most public offices, being councillors and in parliament.

They further hope to vigorously encourage and support woman and youth to realise their potential and to participate actively in the affairs of the country in a friendly and non-discriminatory environment where everybody will be given equal opportunity.

“We are part of the National Youth Council and we advocate our national interest there; every year we send young people to a programme called ‘Youth Leadership Development Programme’ under the youth ministry and with other stakeholders,” he further mentioned.

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) youth league spokesperson, Maximilliant Katjimune, said many young people, from all over the country have expressed immense hope and trust in the PDM as the party of choice in the upcoming presidential and National Assembly elections.

“I think the party, through all its relevant structures, has demonstrated immense leadership capabilities since 2014,” he said.

Katjimune added that over the past years they have kept the ruling party on its toes through robust public and intellectual engagement.

“We have also demonstrated the capacity to lead through our policies which will enable Namibians to get access to better healthcare, access to higher education and efficient, efficient land and urban housing reform.

“It is the Popular Democratic Movement that has shown that we are the only credible alternative, and we think that message has resonated well with the young masses of this country,” he said.

Katjimune also stressed that Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is doing the bare minimum as there are many cases, which even the PDM has red-flagged, that the ACC has never followed up. “The latest indictment and conviction of Katrina Hanse-Himarwa is a drop in the ocean among the plethora of corrupt syndicate activities that we know of in the public service.”

He further added that the country still has to support the ACC, as it is a very important instrument in combating corruption.

“We have to do this by making sure that our investigating officers in the ACC do their work without fear, favour or prejudice, that they have suitable working environments and that the relevant bodies that work with the ACC are robust as well,” he said.

Katjimune told The Zone that PDM youth league, as the think tank of the movement, has been on the ground ensuring that the young people go out and register to vote during the just past supplementary registration of voters. In addition the youth league has been on the ground establishing different branches at institutions of higher learning, in an effort to constantly be in conversations with the everyday young people of this country.

“We are very confident that our message has resonated well with the young people, and that they will vote en masse for the Popular Democratic Movement and for McHenry Venaani for president,” he said.

Dominga Ndala, head of student command element of Landless People’s Movement (LMP) voiced that youth integration in leadership positions is essential for sustainable economic growth development in the country.

She added that youth representation contributes greatly to the positive development of youth and their communities, thus it helps the youth sharpen their skills by coming up with polices that reflect their generational aspirations and enhance their citizen participation.

“When looking at our national structure I think we as an organisation have already achieved in terms of youth representation in key positions. LPM has young dynamic leaders like the likes of Utaara Mootu who is 23 and is our national spokesperson,” she said.

Ndala strongly agrees that it is necessary to launch a party manifesto before the elections so that people may vote according to ideologies that resonate with them and also so that they may know where the party stands on certain issues as an organisation.

She further added that LPM has already demonstrated on where they stand on most issues and have managed to drive a national agenda before they became a political party.

“Launching a manifesto is just not a campaign tool but rather what we stand for and what we will achieve when we become the incumbent, and that's restoring our people's dignity,” she said.

She conclude by saying the LPM youth league is a dynamic, radical youth wing that stands for the truth and advocates for a better Namibia in terms of refining policies that resonate with the local inhabitants and restoring the dignity of Namibian people.

Youth league president of the Republican Party of Namibia (RP) commented that they don’t have a manifesto yet their campaign is going strong.

“My subordinates are very active in campaigning we are really moving boundaries and are ready for this year’s elections. The good thing about our party is that new members are joining especially the youth and we are growing daily,” he said.

FACT

- A manifesto is a public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate.

*The Swapo Party Youth League did not respond to questions from The Zone\

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