12 September 2017

Namibia: SPYL Focused On Unity - Nekongo

After announcing the new members of the Swapo Party Youth League's national executive committee (NEC), SPYL secretary Ephraim Nekongo said the focus of his leadership will be on uniting the league.

In an interview with The Namibian last Thursday, he said the new leadership with a five-year mandate will work closely with the youth league structures to make sure that young people are united.

He said the reason why things were not going well in the youth league was because the previous leadership did not engage the structures, and they were continuously ignored by the league's leadership.

"The structures were ignored. Structures such as sections and branches, which are very important organs of the party, were supposed to be the ones initiating changes in the youth league," he said.

He said challenges such as sanitation for young girls at the periphery will be solved through the party's sections, adding that "if we engage our sections throughout, we will be able to solve those challenges very well".

Nekongo also promised to be vocal on contemporary issues affecting the youth and the nation at large, saying the youth league from now on will have formal positions on issues such as land, corruption and youth unemployment that will influence decision-making in the party and in government. "That is our core business for the next five years".

"The youth league will pronounce itself on every contemporary issue that happens in future, and present its resolutions. The reason why we are talking about unity is that if we are not united, then we will not be able to address the contemporary issues facing the youth," said Nekongo.

While shedding light on the composition of the new national executive committee and the central committee of the youth league, Nekongo said the national structure of SPYL was diverse in terms of gender representation to demonstrate unity.

The national executive committee is made up of eleven members - the secretary and deputy secretary, seven national secretaries, and two additional members who are appointed by the secretary.

The national secretaries elected to the executive committee are former central committee member Tuyeni Kandume, who becomes labour and justice secretary; Mirjam Nghidipo, who is finance and administration secretary; Gerson Dumeni as information secretary; and Akser Mwafangeyo as international affairs secretary.

Others are Hofni Iipinge, who was elected as education and pioneer movement secretary; Outjo mayor Marius Sheya, who becomes the new economic secretary; and Julius Gaeseb, who takes over the health and environment portfolio.

The two members appointed by Nekongo are Kahimbi Tembwe Brightness and Rehabeam Iiyambo.

Nekongo also appointed Iiyambo, Christine Malwa, Abel Amutse, Sharonice Busch and Julius Gaeseb to the 50-member youth league central committee.

The Thursday meeting also elected four candidates who will contest for central committee positions at the Swapo Party congress in November this year.

These candidates are National Youth Council chairperson Mandela Kapere, Lucia Ipumbu, attorney general Sacky Shanghala and new MP Paula Kooper, who replaced Bernadus Swartbooi in the National Assembly.

Nekongo said because the central committee was made up of representatives from all 14 regions, it was a demonstration that his leadership was focused on unity.

"It it is the first-ever time in the history of Namibia that congress produces equal representation. For us to forge ahead with unity, we must first forget about what happened. If there were factions, those factions must be destroyed," Nekongo said.

"If you look at my appointment, there are people who were labelled as supporting this or the other (faction) ... I put in people who are not even known to us," he said.

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