The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) will be advocating vigorously for youth empowerment, improvement of the education system and the agricultural sector, as well as increased youth representation at the Cabinet level at the upcoming Third National Policy Conference of the party.
In addition, the youth wing would want to see the Prime Minister drawn from the youth, while they want to see youth representation at the decision-making level increased to 40 percent, a process that should lead to the old guard exiting and serving more as advisors, SPYL secretary Ephraim Nekongo said ahead of the conference at the beginning of next month.
Nekongo promised that the youth wing will be going to the conference to focus on serious matters that concern the nation and in particular the youth as they are facing many challenges. “We as youth will be influencing decisions that are in the best interest of the youth, at the top will be addressing the high unemployment rate, hunger, as well as an accelerated youth transition into leadership positions. That is our clear objective, as we do not want to engage in non-beneficial debates, and providing promises,” said Nekongo, adding that it’s time for action.
The conference is set for 1st and 2nd of July in the capital.
“We want the party holistically to come up with reforms that will see the agricultural sector improve, as you and I will agree that we import most of our food products, thus this needs to change so we formulate policies that will empower our local farmers to do more to feed the nation. By doing so, this creates employment and secures food security and sustainability.”
Nekongo, further said, there is a need to improve our education system in order to provide the skills need by the industry, as according to observation, some professions are saturated while others have a serious shortage, which are equally important to propel the country’s development agenda.
“Look, we have many teachers in this country more than what the sector can accommodate. These are things we should change, lets provide courses and industries that match each other. We should do this keeping in mind the 4th Industrial Revolution, as this is the right time to empower ourselves so that we benefit from the transitional process. That can only be attained if we are part of the process, not the end users. We can’t continue benefiting only the developed countries, for how long will this go on? If robots become the new norm, let’s work with the process by offering similar courses so that we can be able to develop our own instead of benefitting the wealthy countries because we will be forced to import,” said the Swapo MP and youth leader.
‘’The Party Think Tank has done the research and compiled a report, so we are going to dissect it, whatever that is irrelevant will be scrapped. We shall not sleep on issues.”
Regarding the much talked about Helmut Amendments, which have been a hot topic in recent months with some calling for the policies adopted during the 2017 Swapo congress to be scrapped, while others belief there is no need for changes, Nekongo said he doesn’t support amendments, arguing that the constitutions has been amended about five times in the last few years.
“We cannot continue changing the constitution just to serve certain individuals. For how long will that go on? In the end our constitution will be of no value. Therefore, I stand my ground that the constitution should not be amended, because for someone who started within the rank and file of Swapo from Pioneer, the 10-year ceiling should not be an issue. It is only a problem to opportunists who want to take a shortcut,” he emphasised.
The constitutional changes dubbed Helmut Amendments adopted in 2018, requires one to have consistently and persistently served in Swapo Central Committee for 10 years, in order to qualify for the party’s top four positions, President, Vice President, Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General.
“We were either sleeping or ignorant when the constitution is being changed left and right. However, this time let’s leave with it because it is our own doing collectively. We shall not entertain changes aimed at favouring certain individuals because someone feels they need to be there,” reiterated Nekongo.
In terms of advancement of youth into leadership position, the SPYL secretary warned that, in as much as he is an advocate for youth empowerment, he will not condone irresponsible and incompetent youth to fight and take shortcuts. “We need to be responsible leaders, I am a firm believer in young people should be mainstreamed into leadership position, but that should be done in a responsible manner and not just for the mere sake. Let’s follow processes,” he added.
He said youth should neither be undermined nor should they underestimated.
Meanwhile, political analyst Eui Tyitende said, “for a political party that is currently in the political intensive care unit, it needs to embark on radical policy reforms to regain the trust and faith of their members and non-members who had hope in their ability to deliver. Hence, the upcoming policy conference should not be an indaba that engages in self-glorification exercises, but a serious and meaningful attempt at addressing the concerns of the electorate that were raised in 2019 National Elections and 2020 regional and local authority elections.”
He further took a swipe at the construction of the Swapo Party Headquarter, which he says is seen as an achievement by some party elites, stating that, “it is a moral liability and should serve as a learning curve for upcoming leaders on rethinking priorities. Notwithstanding that we do not have a political crisis, we do have a crisis of politics.”