As Namibians gear themselves up for the Presidential and National Assembly elections in about 55 days, we have witnessed a disturbing battle of personalities within our country’s body politic.
As political parties prepare to roll out the final plans of their electoral campaigns, they should be reminded that there is a need for a real battle of ideas. Politicians shouldn’t be afraid of the battle of ideas. In fact the battle of ideas should be the mainstay of our politics, and not just wait every five years when campaigning for political office.
Every single Namibian stands to benefit from a serious battle of ideas. Therefore, politicians must rise above petty politics and encourage a serious debate on critical issues affecting citizens. We are Namibians first before anything else. Even before political contestations.
The country needs diverse views to grapple with, considering our many challenges in areas such as education, healthcare, high levels of inequality, poverty and the bane of unemployment, which has reached critical levels.
We are collectively stronger as a nation. The battle of ideas makes us stronger and more united. In that sense, if handled correctly, elections can renew energy and vigour to face the endless challenges we are facing as a nation.
Debating issues ahead of elections also broadens participation and holds those in power to account. However, this will only be effective if young people start showing more interest in politics and start succeeding at shaping the political landscape.
Also, political parties must play a critical role to safeguard our democracy, including tackling voter apathy, which has become a serious cause of concern lately. Democracy will fail in our country when the citizenry ditch their sacred duty of exercising their right to vote en masse.
The task of getting people to the voting booth is largely left to the Electoral Commission of Namibia and this should not be the case. Political parties, civil society and even the media must pull up their socks and equally promote civic education to teach, especially young people, the significance of participating in elections.
2019-10-04 08:10:26 11 days ago