Unemployment drives youth into electoral candidacy
21 October 2020 | Opinion
In 2015, only five independents contested. The surge in numbers is, primarily, two-fold.
The majority of independent candidates are young people who see this election as a golden opportunity to secure a job and escape the jaws of poverty. When this is the general underlying rationale, this election is a sham because it’s not driven by the desire to serve, but rather self-preservation.
The second reason for the high numbers of independent candidates is what we call the ‘Angelina Snowball Effect’, in reference to Angelina Immanuel who stood in 2019 as an independent candidate in the Ondangwa Urban constituency by-election.
Spurred on by the Affirmative Repositioning movement, Immanuel gave Swapo candidate Leonard Negonga a run for his money, losing by 1 936 votes to 1 402.
Being young (she was 27 at the time) and a woman served as inspiration for many young people who always wanted to join politics but are blocked by elders in political parties on the basis that they either did not partake in the country’s war for independence, or that they are new in politics and must thus wait for their turn.
What we are seeing now is the outcome of many years of undermining young people, both in terms of creating jobs for them – with youth unemployment standing at over 40% - and giving them opportunities to thrive politically.