Don’t insult us, Shaningwa tells young people

Sophia Shaningwa

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa has urged young people to address political leaders with respect, but says they need the masses.

Shaningwa said this while addressing a Swapo campaign at the Tuhingireni location outside Rundu on Wednesday.

“One thing that you must not do is insult us. Please talk to us a little bit kindly and in a better manner, but don’t insult your leaders,” she told the youth.

Shaningwa also encouraged the residents of the Kavango East region to continue demonstrating their support for Swapo.

Shaningwa said it is important to keep Swapo in power and cautioned that once the party loses power it will be challenging to regain control.
She urged young people to work diligently to ensure Swapo remains the governing party.

Shaningwa said the older generation has done its part and it is now time for the youth to take the country forward.

“It’s your country, your future, but you must never allow yourself to be under the governance of the opposition parties. They don’t have any idea of what is to be done.

“You have seen what your parents have been doing. You have seen how we have been doing for you. Lead the country forward. You must understand that the moment you allow your party to be removed from power, it will be very difficult for you to take it back. Therefore, you will have to work very hard for your party to remain as the governing party,” Shaningwa said.


In a bid to bolster support, Shaningwa urged youth engagement in door-to-door campaigns to encourage voter registration and support for Swapo and its presidential candidate Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.

“The young people must understand that we, the older generation, have done our best and now it’s for you to take over from us,” Shaningwa said.

She urged the residents of the Kavango East region to vote for Swapo and its candidate so that the party regains its two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, after Swapo lost 14 seats in the National Assembly in 2019.

“I know that the people of Kavango are second to the people of the four central-north regions in terms of supporting Swapo,” she said.
Shaningwa told the regional leadership to start mobilising the residents of the region ahead of the 27 November elections.


Shaningwa further told residents of the informal settlement that dormant green schemes in both the Kavango East and Zambezi regions will be revived soon to enable the country to feed itself, and young people will be employed in these green schemes.

“We already know that if a nation cannot feed itself, it is not a nation. We cannot go and borrow food from India or buy food from China. We should be able to use our own land and provide food for the nation.”

Shaningwa said last month vice president Nandi-Ndaitwah visited most of the green schemes in the north-eastern regions and reported her findings to president Nangolo Mbumba and prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

She further called for efficient distribution of drought relief food to those in need.

“No one should die. Make sure whomever is hungry gets the food. If the food has not been received, report so we can assist, but the food cannot be in the warehouse when the people are dying of hunger.

“People are the only assets we have. We cannot claim we have land if we don’t have the people. I call all leaders to take care of our people,” Shaningwa said.

Henning Melber


Political analyst Henning Melber said respect must be mutual and while elders are persons of authority in traditional cultures, respect cannot be based on age alone. It must be earned.

“Hence such a general appeal is rather useless, especially, if not the same respect is, independent of the age, offered to others. Lecturing younger people is seen by them as a patronising act, since they and their views deserve respect and recognition too,” Melber said.

He futher said Shaningwa needed to emphasise that insults should be condemned for what they are, no matter against whom and by who.

According to Melber, political leaders campaign and part of this is the exposure to debate.

He added that talking in “kind manners” is something older political leaders should do to lead by example.

“Her cautious words to maintain power indicate that Swapo is aware that the times of its unchallenged political hegemony are gone. Once a majority is lost, it might indeed be an uphill battle to regain the support to return into the only party governing,” Melber said.

He believes door-to-door campaigns to seek more active voter engagement are considered an additional mobilising factor in favour of Swapo, but may convince some of the electorate to go to the ballot, but not to vote for Swapo.

Political analyst Rui Tyitende said it appears that Swapo has evolved into a political force plagued by a serious image problem.

He added that one should never demand respect as it is always earned. The regions of Kavango East and West, which remain predominant Swapo strongholds, are paradoxically among Namibia’s poorest areas, Tyitende noted.

“The people of these two regions seem to be trapped in an abusive relationship they cannot escape,” he said.

Tyitende suggested that voters expecting change while relying on the same governing party are caught in cycle of insanity.

“The Namibian people need to make peace with the fact that they are alone and no one is coming to save them,” he said.

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