Voter apathy among the youth

09 September 2019 | Columns

Voter registration in Namibia is an independent responsibility, so citizens choose whether they want to register or not.

Without any doubt, this will lead to less people within the voting age population being registered to vote in the upcoming general election slated for November 2019.

While elections are an occasion for people to have a say on how they are governed and who will hold political power, voter apathy is a growing concern, especially among young people. Given their large numbers, when young people vote, they can decide the outcome of elections. If the low voter turnout of the recently concluded Ondangwa Urban constituency and Oshakati East constituency by-elections is anything to go by, we should really be worried. There are several reasons why younger people tend to be underrepresented at the polls. One, ironically, is their frustration over serious problems that may be affecting our country. The greatest challenge that human beings face the world over is the inability to change the past, hence liberation credibility will no longer be used by any political establishment as a yardstick to lure people to participate in elections. If you are a young person in many places across Africa, including Namibia, you are coming of age in an environment where you see corruption and corrupt leaders being glorified, your tax money being invested, yet there are no returns on the investment made, the education system falling apart, yet we shamelessly defend it and a depressed economy, yet we politicise its status. The heinousness of the task of changing the environment is something that drives voter apathy.

In light of the above, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has an essential role to play in creating awareness and enthusiasm about the upcoming polls. Voter education may be the best solution for apathy, because it helps people to understand that while countrywide problems need to be dealt with, participation in local elections is one way of taking action to fix the situation in their own localities. It is, however, disheartening that local authorities in Namibia have become synonymous with unending squabbles. Over the years this infighting has culminated in so-called defiant councillors being recalled, and at times suspended, by those in the upper echelons of their respective parties. We are reminded of unpopular political developments at the Rundu town council and Okahandja municipality, to mention a few.

If one was to carry out a survey on the perception of the state of public accountability, you would expect the results to show a citizenry who have lost trust in public office-bearers and public institutions. The private sector is not exempted either.

To be truly devoted to our motherland, we need to be change agents. We need to demonstrate love towards our country and all its people. We need to demand the highest standards for our country and accept nothing less from its people. Therefore, it is not enough to vote. We have a broader civic consciousness to hold elected officials accountable. We have an obligation to influence them by offering suggestions. After all, patriotic leadership is demonstrated when you have solutions.

In conclusion, over 50% of our total population is comprised of young people whose financial troubles have not been satisfactory addressed. Our failure as a nation to address their demands for jobs, better education and other empowerment opportunities will continue to be a recipe for voter apathy.

Kauhakanua Martin Mbambus

Similar News


Roar young lions, roar!

2 hours ago | Columns

Youth without a consistent voice are inevitably excluded from the pockets of power that exist throughout societies.Youth who become praise-singers and imbongis, even when they...

A downward spiral

1 day - 18 September 2019 | Columns

It is public knowledge that many of our government offices and agencies, including local and regional authorities, hardly receive clean audits from the auditor-general. Auditors...

Respect is a two-way street

2 days ago - 17 September 2019 | Columns

Octavia Tsibes Imagine being kind, humble and respectful. You have nothing to lose, and as a matter of fact, it costs you nothing to be...

Satisfaction with democracy

3 days ago - 16 September 2019 | Columns

Namibia's desire for democracy stems from discontent with authoritarianism. Collectively, Namibians have more experience with colonial rule than with democracy. After about three decades of...

Award ceremonies and their dynamics

6 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Columns

The Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) is a community, as well as an award show for professional, independent musicians and labels. It is not an...

Youth taken for a ride

1 week ago - 12 September 2019 | Columns

The odds are heavily stacked against youth leaders within Swapo. A closer analysis of the just-concluded electoral college or pot shows that not a single...

We need to act, now

1 week ago - 11 September 2019 | Columns

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force on 30 May, although not yet ratified by all African states, has been lauded and...

A cautionary tale

1 week ago - 10 September 2019 | Columns

On Friday morning, Africa and the rest of the world woke up to the news of the death of Robert Mugabe. Immediately, media outlets began...

Positivity is a mindset

1 week ago - 10 September 2019 | Columns

Mariselle Stofberg ‘Later’ is a concept that inevitably means spending more time on something than compared to ‘now’. Everything can happen later. We often say:...

Music chose Ndjiharine

1 week ago - 10 September 2019 | Columns

Natasha Ndjiharine I am a student at the University of the Free State, in South Africa. I am currently doing a diploma in music...

Latest News

Roar young lions, roar!

2 hours ago | Columns

Youth without a consistent voice are inevitably excluded from the pockets of power that exist throughout societies.Youth who become praise-singers and imbongis, even when they...

Teko trio walk free

2 hours ago | Justice

Teckla Lameck, Jerobeam Mokaxwa and Chinese national Yang Fang, known as the Teko trio, have been found not guilty of all charges relating to a...

'He decided to flee'

2 hours ago | Crime

Defence minister Penda Ya Ndakolo says Benisius Kalola (32), the second unarmed civilian killed during Operation Kalahari Desert this year, was shot when he fled...

280 cops deployed against poachers

2 hours ago | Crime

The Namibian police have deployed 280 members to assist in the fight against poaching.Inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga says these members, selected from across the country, are...

Uanivi gets Warriors chance

2 hours ago | Sports

African Stars veteran defender Pat-Navin Uanivi has finally been selected for the national team after years of being omitted. Uanivi forms part of Brave Warriors...

Horn suspended for alleged doping

2 hours ago | Sports

South African women's 100m record holder Carina Horn has been suspended from competition over doping allegations.The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced on Monday: “The AIU...

'Hitman' faces tough brawl

2 hours ago | Sports

Former two-time world champion Paulus 'Hitman' Moses is set for tough night, as he not only faces Russia's Adlan Aburashidov, but also the home-ground advantage...

Loubser ready to get his...

2 hours ago | Sports

Four years ago, Cliven Loubser was inspired after watching his native Namibia score a try against New Zealand and earn their first Rugby World Cup...

Billionaire pushes oil deal

1 day - 18 September 2019 | Energy

Comsar, the proponent of a 250 megawatt power station, says the government is moving at snail's pace in getting the project off the ground.The company,...

Load More