The battle for the Swapo Party Youth League’s heart and soul has commenced, with two names standing head and shoulder above the rest in the race for the coveted position of secretary.
Incumbent Ephraim Nekongo will face stiff competition in the form of Willem Amutenya, the wing’s secretary for labour and justice.
Amutenya was nominated at SPYL’s extraordinary conference in Oshikoto on Saturday, defying the central committee’s position that Nekongo and his deputy Christine Haindaka-Sikongo should be the sole candidates for their positions.
On Sunday, Amutenya confirmed his nomination and vowed to give Nekongo a run for his money.
Amutenya, an ardent poultry farmer in northern Namibia, will premise his campaign on youth inclusivity in decision-making positions, making the youth league fashionable and advocating for accessing capital for young entrepreneurs.
“It has been long that we have been talking about youth inclusivity in decision-making positions. Young people are ready to serve. They have been groomed, nurtured and moulded. We should advocate for and give young people opportunities to serve,” Amutenya said.
According to Amutenya, SPYL – under his stewardship – will advocate for policy transformation in the banking and financial sector to benefit young people.
“We must look at how best can we revive and transform policies to benefit the youth. How can we change policies at the Development Bank of Namibia or Agribank? The policies must directly benefit us,” he said.
The youthful politician-cum-farmer also wants SPYL to reclaim its glory days.
“We want young people to start believing in Swapo again. We want young people whom we lost to the opposition in the past few years due to the change in political dynamics to return to Swapo,” he said.
The SPYL congress is slated for 17 August 2022 in Ongwediva.
At its last congress in 2017, the late Mandela Kapere and Meryam Nghidipo were nominated to stand for the SPYL secretary position but withdrew at the 11th hour, leaving Nekongo to be elected uncontested.
The congress was marred by a raft of irregularities.
It has also come to light that illicit monies from what has come to be known as the Fishrot scandal found its way to the pockets of some delegates.
On Sunday, Nekongo did not say much about the regional conferences or Amutenya’s nomination.
He said it was premature for him to comment.
“I did not receive any report for the regions up to now,” he said, adding he will only comment today.
Nekongo (40) can still contest for the top post, as the constitution allows the incumbent to contest until they turn 45.
The SPYL has also resolved that only those members in good standing between 18 and 35 years of age will be allowed to contest later this month.
This weekend saw conferences for Zambezi, Otjozondjupa, Ohangwena, Kavango West, Oshikoto, Khomas and Oshana take place.
In Khomas, Windhoek municipal councillor Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma was elected as secretary.
He replaced Paulus Emmanuel, who had occupied the position since 2012.
Second in hierarchy is information, mobilisation and publicity secretary Albertina Amutenya, while William Angula is the new treasurer.
Additional members of the regional executive committee (REC) are Lydia Jason, Matti Intamba and Bernard Lukuwa.
Khomas also elected candidates to the SPYL CC.
They are Lydia Jason, Godforce Aihuki, Rusa Shagandjwa and Petrus Hatupopi.
In Oshana, Albertina Shilikomwenyo is the new regional secretary, while Thikameni Ipundaka and Metumo Shikongo took the information, publicity as well as mobilisation and treasurer portfolios, respectively.
The four additional members of the Oshana REC are Pius Shikongo, Tandeus Shithigona, Sisco Amunyela and Iyaloo Shivute, while its candidates for the SPYL CC are Kristofina Nakanduungile Shivute, Immanuel Shikongo and Toivo Nangonga.
In Otjozondjupa, Alfeus Kamati was elected as regional secretary.
Eurasia Jonas is responsible for information, publicity and mobilisation, while Nestory Shikongo is the regional treasurer.
Additional members of the REC are Otja Secret Muniazo and Annastasia Mavara.
Two positions remain vacant.
Otjozondjupa’s candidates for the SPYL CC are Ndjizera Ndjizera, Collin Ngujapeua, Martha Martin and Magret Nekongo.
The Ohangwena conference saw Selma Inghepa chosen as secretary.
The information, mobilisation and publicity desk will be headed by Petrus Mukongo, while Betuel Elia is the treasurer.
Ohangwena’s additional members of the SPYL REC are Fransina Kashikola and Shipena Herodian.
Two positions remain unfilled.
Meanwhile, Lucia Nghilalulwa, Deogenuns Haishanga and Elia Betuel are candidates for the SPYL CC.
At the time of going to print, the election process had come to a halt, following infightings that ensued.
Entering the weekend, regional conferences for Kunene, Omusati, Hardap, //Kharas, Erongo and Kavango East were already done and dusted.
Speaking to New Era on Sunday, outgoing SPYL secretary for Khomas Paulus Emmanuel said he has done his part at the youth league level.
It is now time to move on and expand his resume beyond the political spectrum.
“There is an improvement from what we found 10 years ago. My work speaks for itself. I don’t want to be the judge. When we came in, we didn’t find anything [structures] in place,” Emmanuel said.