Helena Johannes

The ruling Swapo party remains mum on its position regarding youth participation for the upcoming regional council and local authority elections slated for the 25th of November 2020.

This comes as the ruling party has been heavily criticized over its policy of fielding older candidates in previous elections at the expense of the youth.

Currently the party has been attacked over its decision to field 62 year old Aram Martin, a former Councilor and Member of Parliament as its preferred candidate to run as councilor of Oshakati West in the Oshana region.

The Affirmative Repositioning (AR) leader Job Amupanda in a social media post said “Like in Ondangwa, South West Africa elites have REJECTED its Youth in Oshakati West. They brought back 62 year-old Aram Martin from retirement.”

AR which will be participating in this year’s elections has selected Paulus Paulus as its candidate.

When quizzed on whether there will be more SWAPO youth participation in the upcoming regional and local authority elections, the ruling party’s Secretary General Sophia Shaningwa was, as usual, angered by the inquiry. She said, “Are you a SWAPO member? If you are not a SWAPO member, thank you very much,” she told the Windhoek Observer before angrily hanging up the call.

This also comes after a number of former SWAPO party youth league members including the Affirmative Repositioning leader Job Amupanda and the Walvis bay constituency councilor Knowledge Iipinge respectively resigned from the ruling party on Heroes Day last month amid frustration with the party.

At the time of their resignations, Shaningwa however questioned whether those who left were members of the party in the first place, stating that if one is a Swapo party member, they are supposed to defend their party. She complained that the resigned members always criticised the party instead.

“They have been so actively dismissing and not defending the issues of Swapo. I can’t be moved for what never belonged to the party. They never belonged to the party, because members of the party don’t behave that way,” Shaningwa previously said.

The youth vote is expected to play a key role in the upcoming regional elections, with the ruling party assumed to be facing its strongest challenge yet with new political parties having been registered to participate.

Regional Councils are responsible for the development and administration of the region, while local authority councils include all municipalities, town councils and village councils. These councils are tasked with managing and maintaining the area which they represent.