The weight of expectation

18 June 2019 | Columns

A huge weight of expectation will undoubtedly rest on political leaders vying for office later this year. While there is a sense that the current political dispensation perpetuated disillusionment among the youth, the country will nevertheless be abuzz with election fever when the right time comes. For years the youth, who constitute over 60% of the national vote, have persistently complained about being left out, especially when it involves decision-making roles. Most of these eligible voters are at the moment without jobs and are languishing in abject poverty. The government of the day is also facing increasing criticism and challenges over high levels of inequality, corruption and unemployment, even though our country is blessed with enormous resources and great wealth. The country’s unemployment rate is estimated at around 38% by the Namibia Labour Force Survey (NLFS) of the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), while almost 44% of the youth population remain without jobs. The high jobless rate, which has now reached a crisis of epic proportions, is just one of many social issues that Namibians grapple with on a daily basis. Thousands are still without places to call home and have to put up with a problematic healthcare and education systems. Voters also feel betrayed by their current leaders who are clearly failing to deliver social justice. The sad reality is more and more people are wallowing in need and this backlash has the potential to threaten our collective sense of humanity. The glaring inequality between rich and poor is there for all to see. In fact, it is a gap that continues to widen, with many previously disadvantaged Namibians still living in squalor, compared the minority. There is without doubt a massive weight of expectation on political leaders to deliver on electoral promises, while reinventing themselves to be relevant in the eyes of the voters. Many young people remain disengaged and disillusioned with politics for the mere fact that they are not taken seriously by those that they elect into power.