• December 6th, 2020

Empowerment of youth through the electoral process

Namibia is entering its second cycle of important elections which are the foundation stone of development; these are the regional and local authority elections due to be held around the 25th of November 2020 amidst the Covid-19. 
 With these elections just around the corner, the Youth Leadership Development Programme (YLDP) alumni association recently hosted a live webinar to engage youth on matters of politics and the electoral processes.

The dialogue was aimed at addressing and raising awareness on issues around civic and voter education and elections.
For the past few years, the country has faced unprecedented challenges that have exposed the critical importance of youth participation in politics, in all situations.

Speaking on the significance of youth in electoral processes, the Popular Democratic Movement Youth League spokesperson and YLDP graduate, Maximilliant Katjimune said although young people are getting involved in some social cohesion that aims to influence society economically, socially and so forth, the only challenge is that there is no link between the transition of young people from social movement politics to formal politics.
“It is very concerning because while you can influence society and policymaking to a certain extent through social movements, you can only do it to a certain level. Young people must transition from social movement, politics and into mainstream politics to influence decision making,” he emphasised.

Katjimune says that voter turnout of people between the age of 18 and 35 is one of the lowest in the world.
He added: “In future, these are young people who are going to feel the effects of the decisions that are being made now.”
He also condemned political parties that are anti-youth progressive, saying some parties have many stringent requirements that make it practically impossible and demotivate young people to take part in politics.
In the previous elections, which took place in 2015, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) performance report shows the decrease in youth participation in regional and local authority elections.

According to the report, only 40% of the 1,2 million registered voters turned up at the polls.
Among the speakers was also one of the young members of parliament representing the Landless People’s Movement, Utaara Mootu who spoke on the civic responsibility of youth in democracy.

“Young people should take that responsibility in civic education with regards to voting, and we should be participating as voters. 
Mootu states that there is an urgent need for active civic voter education within the system and young people should take the responsibility of ensuring that their peers and the generation are educated on the necessity of voting.
The programme also offered attendees the opportunity to ask questions and help them address some of the struggles and uncertainties they might have.

Aletta Shikololo
2020-10-28 07:46:50 | 1 months ago

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