Windhoek — The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso), which convened its 16th Elective National Students Congress over the weekend in Otjiwarongo, elected its new executive committee members to serve for the next coming two years.
The meeting, which started on Friday, ended on Monday.
Former Nanso secretary general Simon Taapopi has been elected as the student body's new president. Taapopi replaces Ester Simon, who also served for two years.
Nanso newly elected vice-president is Gregory Madi, while the organisation's secretary general is Efraim Paulus, deputised by Zabrina Ludwig.
The congress also elected Luciano Kambala as its secretary for finance, while Dylan Mukoroli is responsible for ICT-related matters.
In an interview with New Era yesterday on his election, Taapopi said he is overwhelmed to be elected to the position of the president unanimously by the delegates of the 16th National Students Congress from all 14 regions.
In terms of their primary tasks for the next two years, Taapopi noted they have duties to build a mass-based organisation, with branches that are functional and vibrant.
"We are a student organisation - that is where the crux of our renewal lies. We must be able to speak to the hearts and minds of students and learners. We must be relevant to this constituency in order to justify our existence. We, therefore, need to be ahead of everyone else in championing the bread and butter issues of the students. This is what will make us a leading student organisation," he vowed.
Taapopi said theory without practice is valueless; not only must they be thought leaders but they must also combine it with pragmatism.
He added it is not going to be business as usual, adding the new leadership is going to shake up things internally in the organisation and externally in the educational fraternity that they operate.
Nanso spokesperson Matheus Taapopi said congress, which elected national executive committee members, brought together all national, regional and branch students, learners, youth leaders, activists, and technical staff from all 14 Region of Namibia.
"Congress has the responsibility to adopt, approve and craft resolutions to be led by the newly elected leadership, informed by our organisational strategic vision and objectives," he said.
He explained congress further expect to receive a comprehensive political report, and an organisational and financial update, which will be adopted after robust, thorough presentation and debate.
Congress will also deal with internal and external challenges facing the organisation, concerns from regional and branch members.
In September, Nanso regional structures of Omusati, Kunene and Khomas, along with their tertiary institutional branches, withdrew participation from the student body. They cited their exit due to continuous infighting of Nanso's national executive committee and the suspension of some of its members. Those suspended included former Nanso vice-president Bernard Kavau, along with Simon Amunime, Sheya Ngolo and Tyson Hihanguapo. They were suspended on charges of insubordination, among others.
These factions have since formed another student body.
In addition, Taapopi stated congress will look into challenges faced by students and learners in the broader education sector, promising such issues will be deliberated on - in pursuit to finding forward-looking permanent solutions.