Registered voters in the Erongo region are gearing up for the regional council and local authority elections slated for November this year.
The registered voters have called on potential candidates to put the interest of their constituencies at the forefront instead of personal gain.
Paul Volker from Walvis Bay is anticipating an interesting contest, especially at the coast, saying voters are now conscious about politics.
“People have realised the power of voting and how much their one vote can impact the country, their town and the constituency they reside. Voters are demanding for change that can only come through voting; that is why I feel Namibians, regardless of race and political affiliation, understand the power they have through voting,” he explained.
Paul Fisher from Narraville believes Namibians, in general, expect to be economically emancipated. “Namibia, regardless of all the riches, we have struggled economically due to the fact that our resources, such as mining and fishing, have been privatised. Hence, the current leadership should strive to develop full state-owned projects so that our people can benefit,” he said.
He added local authorities should also look at utilities such as water and electricity, as well as housing.
“These were all part of the local authorities before they became entities on their own. Our people in the past could afford basic utilities and housing, as they could own houses through the authorities, unlike now that it has become unaffordable,” Fisher said.
He added the lower-income residents all over Namibia are denied an opportunity to own decent affordable housing through local authorities.
“This is one key aspect incoming local authority leaders should look at. Housing and access to basic services such as water and electricity should be made a priority by all local authorities. We should be policy-driven driven, as it does not enhance the living standards of our people but look at how we can change their current situation.”
Swakopmund resident Helena Shiyuka, who will be a first-time voter in November, said she has been motivated to vote because there is no change in her community.
“I never liked politics but now I understand that if I want change and bring development for my country and community, then I need to vote. I stood in the cold almost five hours just to get registered, Shiyuka said. George Ampweya, also from Swakopmund, said he has noted overwhelming interests from the youth who are now keen on taking part in politics.
“They don’t only want to vote but want to stand for leadership positions in their respective communities. As a young person, myself, this gives me hope and I am very confident that these young leaders, if elected, will drive the youth agenda, as they are well aware of the challenges that the youth face,” he explained.
He added that his expectations from the leaders who will be victorious during the upcoming elections are that they come up with tangible and tailor-made youth policies, the acquisition of land and decent housing for middle-earning young people of my community by advocating and negotiating with council and the banks to relax the prerequisites of obtaining land or housing.
“Continuous and consistent dialogue with foreign investors in our community to solicit financial support for the young people who wish to participate in business should also be addressed. Also, those who are to be elected should prioritise young people in business and local entrepreneurs in the allocation of tenders – whether road and building infrastructure, maintenance or otherwise,” Ampweya said.
Renate Strauss, however, feels change is much-needed, especially for political leaders to work honestly together and find solutions for the needs of the communities they serve. “A lot of people feel that the government has not done enough, and this always caused friction among the government and Namibians; hence, political change is needed,” she said.