Blend of youth, old guard vital for Swapo sustenance

A Swapo revolution of sorts is taking place albeit quietly, as young people take centre stage in terms of participation in national politics and a positive and constructive blend of the old and young is beginning to emerge in the ruling party.

This revolution has not only been evidenced  by the Swapo primaries that took place over the past weekend but, has been seen in the turn of the year when the political will of President Hage Geingob afforded ministerial positions to the youth, in particular 23-year-old Emma Theofelus who was handed the deputy information minister position earlier this year.

With new political revivals that have come into the political fray over the last five years riding on a youth wave, Swapo’s timely integration of youth into community leadership positions will certainly drive the party towards better sustainability and re-energise the rank and file at grassroots level.

What is particularly important at this time is, for the old guard and youth to find sheer consensus and work together for the benefit of the ruling party. While some of the old members who have for so long served in leadership positions may have been kicked out via primary elections, this does not mean that they leave the political race but must offer support to those that will be voted for by the electorate.

In the broader picture of this revolution therefore, any divisions or factions that may arise from these changes within the party should not be taken for granted as they have the capacity to derail progressive reforms of the party as many disruptive forces are exploiting the ignorance of the old guard to try and bring about unwarranted division and disunity.

From a strategic point of view, Swapo authorities must be prepared to ask the question: How much are they prepared to make the most of this demographic dividend? We know that the current youth cohort is the best educated ever, they are the healthiest sector of the population, and our constitution grants them agency and platforms to influence political processes and civic life. With this in mind, the party needs to harness the energy presented by the youth to reignite progressive reforms and strengthen the image and viability of the party.

This is an opportune time to remind Swapo structures of a simple but often ignored fact that young people are the future of the country and need vehement support and guidance to become torchbearers of tomorrow who will carry the party legacy of peace, unity and prosperity forward.

Critically so, the young generation must deem it necessary that they make contributions to the party without undermining those that have carried the torch for so long. Mutual respect should thus prevail with unity a core requirement for a positive outcome in the November polls. Without unity of purpose, weakening of the party lurks in the shadows and an outright defeat next month, a possible reality.