Adapt or die

27 January 2020 | Opinion

There is a sense of frustration and anger in our nation that keeps growing.

The realities faced by many youth, especially those who are unemployed, continues to cast a dark shadow across the country.

On various platforms, including social media, the youth highlight how vexed they are about the state of their nation. This is unsurprising, given that we live in a country with a population of only about 2.5 million, and yet it appears we cannot get to a situation where everyone benefits from opportunities and economic liberation.

It boggles the mind that Namibia, with its vast resources, cannot even create enough jobs for its people. The levels of poverty are a stark reminder of the fact that we just cannot seem to get it right. The pain and anguish of ordinary Namibians is tangible and the country has reached a tipping point in terms of political and other choices.

According to the Economic Outlook report for 2020 by Cirrus Securities, this trend was clearly seen in the 2019 elections, where urbanised voters showed a materially lower interest in the ruling party and its presidential candidate than seen at any time post-independence.

It is estimated that approximately 65% of the population will be urbanised by 2024, while 54.7% of the voting age population will be 'born-free'.

According to the report, this swing is deeply rooted in a classic “crisis of rising expectations” where particularly aspirational younger people do not believe that “tomorrow will be better than today”, while adding that this is a view reinforced by the country's current poor policy trajectory.

The report points out that the election results were largely driven by this young, urbanised group, who are relatively educated but experience crippling unemployment and poor basic service delivery from government.

Clearly for Swapo and its brains' trust, it cannot be business as usual, with more and more disgruntled youth becoming the voters who decide elections in the country. It is now up to the ruling party to adapt or die.

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