Namibian youth must be called to the battlefront. The country is sailing through rough seas and leaving the fight to elders alone would be at the youth’s own peril. The youth need not to be invited to the party – they must infiltrate the struggle if needed.
The 6th Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) congress currently underway in Katima Mulilo comes at a critical time of our life as a republic. The congress must craft solutions for the generation and for the country as a whole.
It is the youth themselves who must steer themselves away from the disparaging characterisations currently haunting them – such as being seen as passive advocates of patronage, regionalism and factionalism.
The country is crying for ideas and new ways of thinking. And unless such is achieved, the youth must forget about the gradual transfer of power to them by those currently having it. Simply, there would be no justification in passing on the baton into the hands of those that are not ready to move this country forward.
The SPYL congress presents a big opportunity to, amongst others, emerge as a united front striving for a common generational objective and to set a narrative that will shape the achievement of targeted national objectives.
Today, 27 years after independence, we are soaked in the achievements and glory of the sterling efforts of the youth of yesteryear, who are known in today’s Swapo vocabulary as ‘elders’.
These elders discharged their national duties with commitment and a never-say-die attitude until independence – at least the political one – was achieved.
Undoubtedly, Namibia owes these heroes and heroines a debt of gratitude. But this does not mean such elders must, as part of that gratitude, be allowed to overlap into the space reserved for younger generations in their own country.
Naturally, each generation has its own capacity to deal with the challenges facing it. It is, for example, this generation’s duty to win the much-trumpeted fight for economic freedom. This, however, cannot be achieved without the active participation of the youth in both formulating the path and participating in the actual economy – whether as owners of the means of production or as experts driving equitable growth.
In truth, where there are opportunities there would be contestation too. Crocodiles do not enjoy being fed with other crocodiles. But as a generation of the enlightened, the youth – beyond just the confines of SPYL – must accommodate each other at the table of the economic cake.
But above all, Namibia must at all times come first, even where there exists no opportunities to ‘eat’. After all, the struggle for national liberation went far beyond the realms of just eating.
The SPYL congress, instead of deepening factionalism and demarcating camps ahead of the mother party’s own congress, must bring about unity of purpose, defined along the democratic centralism concept.
This means what has been agreed by the majority must become, if you like, law. Of course the league must remain the factory of ideas but clashing perspectives must not take the youth back on the path of the last five years which was characterised by insults, suspensions and even exchange of physical blows.