NEKA elects new leadership amidst political tensions

Niël Terblanché

The Namibian Exile Kids Association (NEKA), a youth group representing individuals born to Namibian parents in exile during the liberation struggle, held its annual general meeting (AGM) in Otjiwarongo.

President Nangolo Mbumba, who also serves as the patron of NEKA, lauded the association for its enduring role in championing the rights and welfare of its members while preserving the cultural heritage linked to Namibia’s fight for independence.

In a statement delivered on his behalf by the Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, President Mbumba celebrated NEKA’s efforts in uniting its members and promoting a sense of shared history and identity among the children of the liberation struggle.

He identified them as a unique diaspora, bound together by the rich tapestry of Namibian ancestry.

Highlighting the association’s importance in the socio-political landscape of Namibia, Mbumba urged NEKA to collaborate with Swapo, Namibia’s ruling party, to galvanize the nation’s youth, particularly encouraging them to participate in the voting process.

The President’s call to action stresses the critical role of youth engagement in shaping the country’s future.

NEKA’s AGM was not just a routine meeting but a momentous occasion that saw the election of a new executive committee tasked with steering the association into a new era.

Kadiva Hamutumwa took the helm as president, with Sackey Nendongo serving as deputy.

The assembly also saw Elisabeth Nghitende elected as Secretary-General, with Simubali Simubali as her deputy.

The election of new leaders for the organisation is indicative of a fresh direction for NEKA.

This leadership transition occurred against a backdrop of advised caution from Sophia Shaningwa, Swapo’s Secretary-General, who expressed concerns about internal tensions within NEKA.

She feared these disputes could extend to Swapo, potentially hampering the party’s election campaign in the run-up to the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for November this year.

Shaningwa suggested postponing the elections to avoid such repercussions.

However, NEKA’s decision to proceed with the elections, asserting its autonomy and adherence to its constitution, highlighted its stance on self-governance and independence from political affiliations.

Rauna Amutati, NEKA’s outgoing president, expressed a vision for the association to assume a more pronounced role on the national stage, emphasizing the need for active participation in Namibia’s development beyond the confines of cultural preservation.

Amutati said that the organisation’s AGM represents a key moment for NEKA, as it not only ushers in new leadership but also reaffirms its commitment to the broader goals of social and political engagement within Namibia.

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