The I Am Voting Namibia organisation, tasked with empowering the youth in democratic processes said the lack of interest in the youth participating in elections stems from the information which lacks and doesn’t seem to appeal well to the current generation.
The Executive Director of the organisation, Joseph Ndondi (22) said another issue is that information is not readily available. “Most of them are not informed in regards to the significance of voting and why they should take part,” stated Ndondi.
I Am Voting Namibia is a non-profit organisation, established in 2019 to empower the youth as equal participants in the democratic process by providing them with the relevant information. This is done through outreach and educational programmes. I Am Voting Namibia is also the first accredited organisation by the Electoral Commission of Namibia.
Ndondi mentioned that for young Namibians’ minds to change, accountability is a two-way streak and everyone involved need to do their part, starting from the voters.
“You can’t want to hold elected officials to account when as a Namibia citizen you don’t account to your right as outlined in the constitution. First, let’s participate in the process so we have a legitimate right to complain, also regional and local authorities elections impact us more directly, how service delivery is handled to the public highly depends on these elections,” he lamented, referencing the current ongoing registration of voters for the regional council and local authority elections.
Ndondi said: “With the structures present in all regions, the organisation aims to educate the masses on the roles and responsibilities of these elected offices whose focus is on both civic and voter education. The organisation will focus on ensuring that all relevant information is provided to the electorate not just to tell them how the electoral process is but to ensure they are informed about the responsibilities as outlined in the regional and local authorities acts.”
He said there is a need to take pride in Namibia and it starts with citizens being informed and taking part in profiling people that will lead us.
Meanwhile, the chief electoral officer of ECN, Theo Mujoro, mentioned the national voters register currently stands at 1 358 468 of whom 52% are youth. He said the disparity in youth participation in terms of registration and polling is widening.
“A significant number of youth would register as voters, but this figure does not translate into votes on polling day. The ECN has recruited 98 young people as youth ambassadors for four months to support voter education and advocacy targeted at young voters.”
Mujoro added that voter and civic education programmes are intended to encourage young people to register as voters with the view to increase participation and further raise awareness on the inclusion of special focus groups such as women, people with disabilities, the youth and marginalised communities and that they can participate in elections without unfair barriers, which is a core component of delivering an inclusive election.