Let the games begin

20 May 2019 | Columns

The Electoral Commission of Namibia last week announced 27 November as the date for the upcoming general election, which will be preceded by the supplementary registration of voters in July. With silly season now upon us, parties and their respective candidates are plotting various strategies on how the electorate can be swayed to vote in their favour. There is no doubt that campaign promises can be enticing and fun-filled at the same time. And over the years we have witnessed political parties enlisting the services of musicians to get their message across and have people support their campaigns - a concept that can attract the country’s young army of voters. But shaking legs to woo star-struck voters does not guarantee you votes. With many potential voters - young and old included - showing tremendous interest in the country’s political affairs, it is advisable that prospective candidates show how they can powerfully leverage issue-based campaigns and steer clear from the mud-slinging that is common during election season between contestants. Political parties must have clear strategies in place on how address the many challenges befalling our nation, and use campaign platforms to articulate their party agenda on national issues, instead of focusing on electioneering lies and unreasonable promises. Namibia is grappling with critical issues, such as the high unemployment rate, a housing crisis, a shaky economy and generally poor service delivery across various sectors. There must be a real battle of ideas among candidates and their campaign teams. The nation needs politicians who can deliver on their electoral promises and who are not just out to charm individuals with boxes full of promises. Invariably these boxes, along with these politicians, literally disappear once they are voted into power. As much as we appreciate voting in a democracy, there should be meaningful checks and balances within the system of governance on how to deal with those officials neglectful of the people’s needs.

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