10 September 2012

Namibia: Minister of Youth Unleashes Another 'Tsunami'

THE rift between the Minister of Youth, Kazenambo Kazenambo, and the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) is widening following a declaration of "war" by Kazenambo on the re-elected secretary of the youth wing, Elijah Ngurare.

Kazenambo on Friday said that he would unleash a "tsunami" on Ngurare after what he described as persistent provocation and attack by the youth leader on him through the Ministry of Youth and Sport.

It remains to be seen how the differences between the two will be manifested in the ranks and leadership of the youth league. SPYL has put on a united front since its congress last month, where Ngurare was elected unopposed, after his opponent withdrew from the race.

The opponent, Julius Namoloh, who was nominated by the group supporting Trade Minister Hage Geingob to succeed President Hifikepunye Pohamba as party president, withdrew paving the way for Ngurare to serve a second term as youth secretary.

But the differences between the young turks over their preferred successor to Pohamba is expected to play out in the coming months ahead of the year-end party congress.

The SPYL has still not endorsed a particular candidate, but a section within the youth league under the leadership of Armas Amukwiyu, the Swapo coordinator of the Oshikoto Region, have thrown their weight behind Geingob.

Kazenambo is a known supporter of Geingob.

Kazembo's outburst on Friday, follows a critique by Ngurare about youth programmes under the Ministry of Youth, particularly the National Youth Council (NYC) and the National Youth Servicea (NYS).

Ngurare said the two institutions were initiated by the SPYL and should be managed transparently and prudently in the interest of all Namibian youth and not be used for political expediency.

"Those at the NYC and NYS should understand that those entities have come into being because of the SPYL and one would make a catastrophic mistake thinking you are there on a government ticket. We want to remind you comrades, you are there at our [SPYL] mercy. These entities should not be used for political battles," Ngurare said last week when he announced the resolutions of the SPYL congress.

Kazenambo did not take kindly to these statements, saying that he is not answerable to Ngurare and that he does not owe his appointment to Ngurare.

"I am serving at the pleasure of the President," an angry Kazenambo insisted.

He said he is submitting reports and briefing Pohamba about the activities of his ministry and it is up to the president to say if he is not happy with his work and not Ngurare.

Opening the SPYL congress, Pohamba said several youth members had been appointed to senior positions in government at the request of the SPYL.

The president singled out Kazenambo, his deputy Pohamba Shifeta, the Deputy Minister of Justice Tommy Nambahu, Karas Governor Bernadus Swartbooi and the chairperson of the Law Reform and Development Commission, Sacky Shangala, saying that the SPYL should inform him if it is not happy with their performance so that he can recall them.

He accused Ngurare of abusing Swapo resources to launch unwarranted personal attacks on him and the ministry, adding that Ngurare is a destabilising factor in party unity.

He said that it is an "illusion" that there is unity in the Swapo Party. "Let us acknowledge that we have a problem in the party," Kazenambo said.

Asked if his declaration of war would not cause further rift in the party, Kazenambo said that his "freedoms have been curtailed" in the name of unity and that he will no longer be silenced.

He said the Swapo senior leadership has been quiet for far too long, while he has been the subject of attacks from Ngurare and all those opposing a Geingob presidency.

Ngurare would not be drawn into a personal spat with Kazenambo, only saying that the youth league will remain focused on bread-and-butter issues and not personalities.

Kazenambo promised to use his own resources to research the political background of Ngurare and expose him as a "remnant of the colonial past".

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