Youth must get over Swapo congress hangover
Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) President Wilhelem Wilhelem has called on the country’s youth to get over the faction fighting that characterised Swapo’s 2012 elective congress, which pitted incoming President Hage Geingob against Jerry Ekandjo and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana. He said the just-ended Nanso congress saw certain individuals using the 2012 Swapo camps to de-campaign. “During the Nanso campaign towards presidency you could see this. For example, someone was told not to vote for Wilhelem, because he is anti-Hage. If I don’t agree with a certain person views, it is seen as me against Jerry or Hage,”
Wilhelem said. He also urged the youth in general not to be used by elders to fight their battles. Wilhelem denied that Nanso is divided, claiming it was more united than ever. “There is unity after the congress. We love Nanso. We can’t afford to have it divided. We have to hold hands and move forward.” Wilhelem is a University of Namibia (Unam) law student. He told Namibian Sun the biggest mission was to make sure that Nanso’s presence is felt at grassroots level. “When a learner is kicked out of school at Okangwati, they should know there is Nanso to rely on.” He said the new leadership will make sure the organisation is “not reduced to a Facebook, press conference or Whatsapp organisation”. Wilhelem said they will make sure Nanso is strong and that it cannot be uprooted. “We are just reviving the 1984 formation of Nanso”.
He said Nanso’s leaders have always been leaders of the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL). He cited as examples //Karas Governor Clinton Swartbooi and National Youth Council Executive Chairperson Mandela Kapere. Wilhelem said during the Nanso congress on Saturday delegates were unhappy with “how things were happening and the appearance of high-ranking officials”. “So the delegates brought it to a standstill, singing and chanting slogans. “You could see there was militancy for about four hours, which led to the former Nanso president Timotheus Angala calling the police to interfere in student congress.” Wilhelem was born in the Ohangwena Region and attended pre-school under a tree. He came to Windhoek and attended Namutoni Primary School from Grade 1 to 7 and then went on to attend Jan Jonker Secondary School. The young leader said got involved with Nanso in 2010. He said Jan Jonker pupils started setting up Nanso branches across the Khomas Region. Wilhelem quickly rose to leadership positions within the organisation. Among the motions tabled at the Nanso congress was one to change the organisation’s constitution and another that Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) loans should be converted to grants by the government. They also tabled motions dealing with student hostels and other accommodation, as well as water and sanitation, especially at rural schools. “We have a responsibility to tackle the challenges.” WINDHOEK SELMA IKELA