ONGWEDIVA – President Hage Geingob has told youth leaders they must focus their efforts on identifying qualified, committed, patriotic and hardworking cadres who will deliver on the goals of the Swapo manifesto.
Opening the seventh elective congress of the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), he told delegates that as they look towards the elections, being young is not sufficient criteria to be a leader.
During his keynote speech yesterday at Ongwediva, Geingob encouraged the youth to become catalysts for economic progress.
“It is time for genuine and committed youth cadres to prove themselves in the fire of current challenges, and emerge as the leaders of the second phase of the struggle for economic liberation,” said the President, before adding that those who are false, counter-revolutionary, racist, tribalist, sexist and selfish will not be missed. He stressed that SPYL is an embryo through which young revolutionaries are groomed.
“This is where the young people’s political teeth are sharpened. Those who are tasked with carrying on the progressive and revolutionary agenda of Swapo are the Swapo youth who emerge from the ranks of this vibrant and militant wing,” said Geingob, who is also the Swapo President.
The President didn’t miss the chance to criticise opposition leaderships.
“People took over some towns, and started fighting in a week. If you can’t run a municipality, how will you run a country?” he asked.
Geingob also maintained that the party is going strong.
“Swapo is dying where? Are you dying? Looking at this big number... Swapo is dying? Tell them to go to hell!” he said to raucous applause.
The congress, ending tomorrow, will see the election of the secretary and deputy as well as members of the central committee.
Meanwhile, incumbent SPYL secretary Ephraim Nekongo is adamant that he will not be challenged for the position, despite the league’s secretary for labour and justice Willem Amutenya maintaining that he was duly nominated to contest for the youth wing’s most priced position.
Amutenya remains firm in his resolve, and said he won’t back down and will contest for the position, despite directives from Nekongo to withdraw.
His nomination was sponsored by SPYL’s extraordinary conference in Oshikoto a week ago, in defiance of the national executive committee (NEC) that Nekongo and his deputy Christine Haindaka-Sikongo should run unopposed.
“I am definitely going to contest. Congress is the highest decision-making body and it’s a nomination of the candidate whom they have consulted and engaged at a vetting level, unless they are indicating that the nominated candidate (him) is disqualified, and that is what they need to pronounce,” he reasoned.
In an interview with New Era, Nekongo said SPYL is not a youth club, but an organisation with its own constitution, rules and procedures.
“The congress has to be called three months in advance, as well as the nominations. So, we don’t have an option of nominating people at the regional level or floor of congress,” he added.
Referring to the mother body’s regional conferences, Nekongo asked which of the regions that have completed their conferences nominated a candidate for the top four.
“Why should it be done to the youth league?” he questioned.
“The person you are referring to (Amutenya) is a member of the national executive committee, which had its meeting in Otjiwarongo. I was nominated, and then there was a call for another nomination, and he didn’t show any interest. Therefore, as we speak, the only nominated candidate in that structure is Nekongo and Christina Haindaka, and there will be no other nominations at the last hour. It is done,” he stresed.
He then asked Amutenya to familiarise himself with the rules and procedures.
Regarding legal threats, he laughed it off, saying “first of all, I never received any document for his nomination. Which document was I given for the nomination? We only received reports from the regions. He must go and be educated about the constitution.”
Sharing similar sentiments, the league’s spokesperson Gerson Dumeni said Nekongo is the sole candidate for that position.