New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / NYC house of cards folds

NYC house of cards folds

2024-03-19  Aletta Shikololo

NYC house of cards folds

Members of the representative council of the National Youth Council have demanded urgent State intervention to rescue the institution, which they say is close to collapse, after a failed weekend meeting.

The council accused the institution of poor leadership, mismanagement and lack of transparency, coupled with internal conflict among the top leadership.

The fracas has led to the NYC yesterday suspending its director Calista Schwartz-Gowases. These grievances were aired to the media yesterday by representative council (RC) members representing the NYC’s affiliates. The urgent briefing, held at NYC headquarters in Windhoek, was prompted by the cancellation of the annual representative council meeting planned to take place over the weekend in Ondangwa.

A conflict erupted when Schwartz-Gowases, allegedly attempted to assault a representative of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM). The exchange of words started when Schwartz-Gowases was asked to explain why there were no minutes of the previous meeting.

According to RC member Vepurura Kandirikirira, the meeting got stuck during the adoption of the minutes stage of the eighth RC meeting. 

The RC is the second-highest consultative, policy, and decision-making body of the NYC when the general assembly is not in session.

“The minutes presented to the delegates were a two-page document, of which 50% consisted of the names of the delegates who were present, while the relevant points were not included, which form parts and parcel of the reason for the RC meeting,” he told the media.

The meeting was then adjourned for an hour, as the board and the director were directed to come back with the fully updated minutes of the previous meeting, which they apparently also failed to provide.

This then led to the commotion, subsequently leading to the altercation between Schwartz and the RC member.

The NYC was allocated N$25 million in the 2023/24 financial year.

Kandirikirira complained of the board’s failure to account to the RC. 

The last meeting was in 2022, and the representative council chairperson failed to convene the meeting in 2023. Kandirikirira said this is a violation of the institution’s constitution.

Among an avalanche of dissatisfaction with NYC, the RC complained of irrelevant expenditure of State funds on things not intended for and lack of capacity.


New Era is informed that unresolved conflict within the top leadership is leading to the discord in the entity, halting progressive activities meant to solve youth issues around the country.

There are allegations of skirmishes between the executive chairperson, Sharonice Busch, and Schwartz-Gowases, because of a lack of clarity on powers and responsibilities between the executive chairperson and the director, resulting in power struggles.

In the press briefing, the RC has shown no confidence in the current leadership, accusing it of lacking capacity and spending public funds on irrelevant things. 

“The competency of the current board and the director is becoming worrisome as they are not fulfilling their duties, no touchable programmes are in place to benefit the Namibian youth, and the council for the past years did not work to achieve its constitutional mandates,” complained Kandirikirira. 

He further accused Schwartz-Gowases and the board of keeping the meeting hostage deliberately as they try to get rid of one another. 

Kandirikirira demanded the line ministry institute a commission of inquiry into the board and the director and seek a forensic audit report since the organisation has failed to submit financial reports for the past three years.

 “It is evident that the director with the board have no interest in the institution but personal gains and there’s something they are hiding,” he added.

 He said as affiliates’ representatives, they will write letters of demand to the RC chairperson, the board through the executive chairperson, the line ministry, to the Prime Minister and an open letter to the President to rescue the “failing” institution.

Last week, a local daily reported that the government has launched a probe into NYC’s allegations of corruption, mismanagement, and non-compliance. 

Yesterday, the media also heard that Schwartz-Gowases was found guilty of 15 charges. 

 “Despite the report calling for the suspension and investigation of Swartz- Gowases, let the minister release the committee findings before the next RC meeting so we deal with it,” Kandirikirira said.



In an emergency board meeting convened yesterday, Schwartz-Gowases was suspended with full remuneration. 

“The suspension is caused by allegations of serious misconduct and is meant to allow for formal disciplinary proceedings to be conducted without interference. This is in line with the relevant NYC policy framework and laws of the Republic of Namibia,” according to a press release. 

The statement confirms that all powers and rights of Schwartz-Gowases to represent the NYC or act on its behalf are halted until further notice. 

The board appointed Sircca Nghitila, the manager for programmes, to continue managing the day-to-day operations of the institution and, ultimately, ensure continuity and stability.

2024-03-19  Aletta Shikololo

Share on social media