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Dr. T. Elijah Ngurare
Secretary of SWAPO Party Youth League



At the onset, it is imperative to recap that the 2002 and 2009 SPYL Congresses were firmly held in recognition of the need for youth development and empowerment, economically. The content in this article is not new and mirrors my earlier writings shortly after the 2007 SPYL Congress. In this respect, I wish to congratulate the leadership of SWAPO Party and its Government for striving to bring services to all our people in 13 Regions and in 107 Constituencies of our Republic. In the same vein, I also commend Cde. Hifikepunye Pohamba, SWAPO Party President and President of the Republic of Namibia for having directed Cabinet, and by extension, the entire Government to ensure full implementation of the 2004 SWAPO Party Election Manifesto and the 2009 SWAPO Party Election Manifesto. Undoubtedly, we have full confidence in the SWAPO Party Government at all levels of Central, Regional and Local Government.

The principle position of our President demonstrates to us that cadres of our Party are indeed in the right course and very conscious of the expectation, goals and dreams of the rural and urban poor. With this faith, we fully support the full implementation of the SWAPO Party Election Manifestos which we regard as an undisputed vehicle to implement the challenges of unemployment and reduction of poverty. The SWAPO Party Election Manifesto is an articulation of the rank and file aspirations, wishes and dreams. For us the public services enjoyed by urban dwellers should be extended as a matter of principle to the majority of our people who reside in rural areas and who are the backbone of the SWAPO Party Government. We believe that these programmes and policies can only be affected by people with the ideological mindset of SWAPO Party, in other words the 2011/2012 Financial Year with its innovative focus on employment creation through TIPEEG is cautiously applauded provided that it translates in real bread and butter matters of the ordinary unemployed youth in all corners of our country.


Before we examine the role of SPYL in Politics and Economic Development, I believe it is imperative that we reflect briefly on the illustrious background of our Party’s youth wing. To begin with, the history of our political existence can be traced to the early 1970s. It may be recalled that during the months of December and January, 1969/1970 SWAPO Consultative Congress at Tanga, Tanzania, the leadership of our Party abroad worked out a new programme of action for the intensification of the struggle on all fronts. The Congress adopted several resolutions, important among which was the creation of new organizational structures, such as wings. Among the wings which were created at the Tanga Congress were the SWAPO Youth League, the SWAPO Women’s Council, the SWAPO Elders’ Council and the National Union of Namibian Workers as an affiliate organization.

It may also be remembered that the immediate result of the implementation of that programme was the rise in mass anti-colonial militancy actions in the country, as demonstrated by the 1971/1972 general strike by the workers and the daring activities of the SWAPO Youth League during the 1971/1974 period. These activities resulted in the arrest and imprisonment at Robben Island of many Youth League leaders, like Comrades Nashilongo Taapopi, Jerry Ekandjo, Martin Kapewasha and others. Subsequently, it is a fact of history that since 1977 to 1989, SWAPO carried out the struggle on the basis of a three pronged strategy, viz, the waging of the armed struggle and political mass mobilization and negotiating for the adoption and implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 435 of 1978. However to force South Africa to implement that resolution, PLAN had to join forces with the Angolan army (FAPLA) and the Cuban internationalist soldiers in the decisive battle of Cuito Cuanavale and Chipa, thus making it possible for the 1989 independence elections to take place.


All of us vividly remember that the battle for the conquest of state power through the ballot box in 1989, was followed by the establishment of the SWAPO Government on 21 March 1990, a momentous event which announced the awakening of a new life for our people. After independence our Party has set itself four main tasks in the present and immediate future namely the democratization of the Namibian society, economic development, provision of social justice and the building of the nation. As the ruling and indeed, dominant political party in this country, SWAPO has defined more clearly the role of the state in the country’s socio-economic development. 

As a youth wing of our Mighty SWAPO Party, it is noteworthy that during the bitter years of the liberation struggle, many young Namibians made enormous sacrifices by demonstrating an impressive will to work in various fronts of our people’s bitter and bloody anti-colonial resistance. Accordingly with the advent of independence in 1990, the SPYL remains at the forefront of the Namibian society as an active, revolutionary, and militant transmitting belt of the SWAPO Party ideology, policies and programmes both in politics and economic development of our country. As all many may be aware, the SPYL has equally set for itself five components that form part of our present and future tasks namely: nation building, political mobilization, economic empowerment, social empowerment and international cooperation.

In particular this means that youth league members in the Sections, Branches, Districts, Regions, National Executive Committee and Central Committee should individually and collectively advocate for the realization of the abovementioned five components. Every youth league member should not be a passive member but an active, revolutionary and militant footsoldier for SPYL, SWAPO Party and Namibia.  Know your SPYL Constitution, SWAPO Constitution and Namibian Constitution; you need to know the Resolutions of 2002 and 2007 Congresses of SPYL. Above all, we must at all times resist the tendency of being used for interests that are exterior to the interest of SPYL and SWAPO Party.
Because, in our free and independent Namibia, therefore, the SPYL has come to realize the need to wage a second struggle namely of economic liberation as embodied in the 2002 Congress "SPYL Fighting for Economic Empowerment". In the 2007 Congress this need was re-emphasised under the theme “SPYL for Unity, Development and Youth Empowerment”. As part of waging this battle, SPYL has set its self, Aims and Objectives in an independent Namibia including but not limited to the following:

  • Renewed vigilance in combating destructive tendencies of nepotism, favoritism, tribalism, corruption, and racism among the youth in the Namibian society;
  • And the inculcation in the youth, patriotic spirit, hard work, self-reliance, respect and love for cultural values and traditions.
  • Advance the promotion of Pan-African solidarity and the worldwide anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist struggle for freedom and justice in the world.
  • To ensure that the Namibian youth are mobilized to participate actively in economic activities as individuals, or within cooperatives or through the establishment of SPYL enterprises in order to contribute to economic development and industrialization, thereby creating job opportunities and wealth for the Namibian people.
  • To strive and educate the youth about the history of Namibia, and to ensure that the Namibian youth upholds, with honour and pride, Namibian history and Namibian national symbols.


Our goals are therefore to be responsive to the wishes and aspirations of the Namibian youth. Equally, it is our collective belief that these aims and objectives are challenges whose implementation will help steer the youth in our country along the path of revolutionary soldiers of continued stability and economic independence in Namibia, SADC and the Africa.


The SWAPO Party Youth League should reserve the right to own business enterprises in various economic sectors, this too should apply to other Wings of the Party as well as the SWAPO Party itself. This is the meaning of what I have earlier in the year referred to as “Towards SWAPO Party Economic Empowerment”. Every cadre of SWAPO Party deployed in government should think on how to contribute to this goal, without fear or habitual excuses. There is no logic as to why the Party with the time tested ideals of Solidarity, Freedom and Justice should be poor whilst the individual members who have risen in its ranks have become overnight millionaires, some deservedly so whilst others no.

The SPYL is heartened by the fact that the government of the SWAPO Party has since independence worked to advance the needs for youth empowerment through the establishment of the National Youth Council and the National Youth Service (NYS).  In regards to the latter, our SWAPO Party Government must ensure that NYS firmly focus on building a patriotic cadre-ship that loves and is prepared to defend our sovereignty and national interests. In addition, the National Youth Service Programme must be the way to demonstrate their commitment to love and defend this country once called upon to do so. We call for it to be a mandatory duty on every youth of our country! There are many merits to the idea of a compulsory service. Young people who might otherwise be unemployed can be exposed to the disciplined environment of the working world or an organisation rather than to remain idle at home or on the street corners; they can be taught new and useful skills that will serve them in good stead once they have completed their term of service including:

  • That every Gr. 12 learner should be mandated to spend 3 months in the NYS before proceeding to colleges, vocational training institutions, polytechnic and universities .
  • That experience in NYS should be considered as a prerequisite for employment in the public sector.
  • That each region should have a profit oriented project that is operated by NYS members and managed by professionals.
  • That all unemployed youth be absorbed in the National Youth Service.


Let me hasten to appeal, however, to all Ministries/Offices/Agencies of our SWAPO Party Government that to date hundreds of our young people have been trained by the NYS and are without employment. It is my considered appeal upon all corporate citizens and the public sector to assist the Ministry responsible for Youth and National Youth Service in finding sustainable job placement for all the trainees.


The youth of our country must not choose to love their country or to defend it, rather they have a duty to love and defend it! The gadgets being used by our youth today in a free and independent Namibia to access the internet and therefore having access to American social networks such as facebook or twitter are brought through our terms and conditions as a sovereign government. The recently launched campaign of “My Namibia, My Country My Pride” should be the window through which our youth must be afforded the opportunity to uphold the Namibian revolution and never betray it. We are users of facebook or twitter but we are not the owners or drivers of it. Namibia needs its own infrastructure of facebook and twitter but on our terms. Indeed our villages such as Katjinakatji or Okanguati shall never be glorified by America or England the same we have chosen to glorify New York or London. SPYL has a role to play in this campaign and members and leaders of SPYL at all levels have a role to play in this technological revolution and in this economic revolution. Namibia must never be a colony again, but above all, our minds must not become colonies of cultural imperialism.


On our part, the SPYL shall continue to comprehensively study all sectors of our national economy to enable to make meaningful contribution to the society. This means that members of the National Executive Committee who head various constitutional departments are the ones to make such studies. While we recognize the contribution that all sectors of our economy make to our society, we are particularly cognizant of and about the potential that the tourism sector has on employment creation and thereby enhance protection of our environment and country.

We further must agree that other sectors such as mining and fishing should equally ensure that the youth meaningfully participate in their programmes especially as it relates to employment, scholarship and incoming generating activities. Although there are some companies that have been helping the activities of the SPYL especially in funding the Congress or Regional Conference, in general, it is not common in our society that corporate Namibia will be found to support the activities of the youth and especially the SPYL activities at national, regional and local levels respectively. Some of our companies and especially those in the private sector would argue that they want to be apolitical: really? How can the public sector which was elected by SWAPO Party become apolitical? It is and must be clear that the only true way in which SPYL can practically succeed in being able to play a meaningful role in Politics and Economic Development of our country is when the economic players including those in the public sector are assisting our youth with the necessary support particularly employment opportunities.

Finally, we must reiterate our earlier calls that our youth must be afforded the opportunity to gain experience while studying through internship and job placement. I mean here that school going youth at local, regional and national level must be able to be absorbed by both the public and private sector companies and agencies with a view to gain experience but also earn a living wage which could support our extended families. We believe further that our youth particularly those who have dropped out of schools must also be assisted with further training especially vocational training because we believe that every person is trainable and thereby can contribute to the socio-economic development of our country. We call also on our SWAPO Party Government to explore possibilities of establishing scholarship programmes at constituency levels in order to assist the youth from rural and poor background to obtain and have access to education.