Youthful member of parliament Patience Masua said she resonates with being a worker more than a politician, adding that she will use her career, office, resources, influence and power to effect change and to diligently serve the Namibian people.
The 22-year-old said this during her maiden speech in parliament on Wednesday, reaffirming her unwavering loyalty to her peers, the young people of Namibia, and highlighting the contemporary issues affecting them. “I reaffirm my commitment to serve in humility, integrity and with all devotion, to the best of my ability - making use of every opportunity granted through this office to advocate for improved conditions for all our young people across the 121 constituencies of the Namibian House,” stated Masua.
Namibia’s youngest MP, who was joined on the floor by NBC’s sign language interpreter Selma Moses, encouraged fellow lawmakers to use sign language interpreters during proceedings.
She added that the development and empowerment of young people is both a matter of sustainable and inclusive development as it is a peace and security priority.
“When young people are not fully participating in the labour force, there is an opportunity cost. We forego tax revenue, we incur a higher social safety net burden, and pay the associated seven social prices for lost productivity and lack of recreation,” stated Masua.
She said: “Now is the time for the State to respond decisively by reviewing existing fiscal, monetary and social policies to empower and protect businesses at risk of closure, as well as to stimulate SMEs. It is imperative now to boost entrepreneurship by removing barriers and constraints such as collateralised lending so that young people can secure loans more easily so that they may start their businesses and become employers of labour and GDP contributors.”
Masua maintained that young people are not homogenous and their needs vary, and emphasis and focus should be put on vulnerable groups.
“As we respond to the economic challenges facing young people, we must maintain sight of vulnerable and marginalised groups. Youth with disabilities do experience disproportionate levels of discrimination and social exclusion in contrast to their able-bodied peers. We need to focus on creating greater access, opportunities, visibility and protection for differently-abled young Namibians,” she observed.
Masua was appointed as a member of parliament by President Hage Geingob, taking the place of former defence minister Peter Vilho.