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Opinion - The essence of voting

2020-10-07  Staff Reporter

Opinion - The essence of voting
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Gone are the traditional days whereby people did not have the right to elect their rulers, but instead traditional sovereignty was inherited and passed on through the bloodline. 
Traditionally, people were forcefully required to comply with the demands of their traditional monarchy. 
The current presence of voting in a democratic setup does credit the legitimacy of the rule of law.

 The constitution of the democratic republic does grant you the right to vote, why opt not to exercise that right? If we are to put the notion of politics into perspective, it is right to state that those that abstain from voting even though they are eligible to vote can as a result keep their views and complains towards actions of politically elected individuals to themselves. 

When a national citizen decides not to cast his or her vote, it implies that the individual is letting or allowing things to play out in whatever way possible even when the same individual had an opportunity to change things otherwise.
On the other hand, refraining from voting for those that are eligible to vote can also be characterized as an indirect form of voting. Refraining yourself from voting is mostly driven by being unhappy and upset with the status quo but change cannot be achieved if you are unable to express your disappointment(s) practically. 

Thus, for change to happen in a political setup there is a need to influence it and unfortunately, you cannot do that by stepping back and deciding to allow things to fix themselves by not casting your vote.
Each vote counts and each vote can be a deciding vote of which an uncast vote can also be one. 
Unfortunately, no one would want his or her self-withdrawal from voting to be the determining factor unless they really do not care about who runs government and they further intend on not complaining about government actions and decisions, and that is a highly unlikely act by any citizen.

There is no better way of holding politically elected public office bearers accountable than through a ballot paper.
Political elections are so essential and even more essential because they present us (voters) with the opportunity to elect individuals (politicians) and political parties that will head various spheres of government and represent the entire nation locally and to the international community. 

We as a country do not exist in isolation, we share the global environment with other countries and many watchdog organizations that may seem silent but they are closely monitoring and watching our actions and responses to everything we indulge ourselves in as a nation of which how we hold our elections is one. 
Having all eligible voters participating in democratic elections is a positive credit for our country from other countries of the world and international organizations.

Namibia is voting in November, whereby the regional and local government elections are upon us. On a positive note, over 188 000 people registered to vote during the early September supplementary election registration process.
Every Namibian eligible to vote should participate in the upcoming elections because not only it is a constitutional obligation but also because democratic elections are characterised with acts of inclusive government. 
Voters only get the opportunity to express how they feel and what they want in terms of political representation through democratic elections. 

One thing that voters should always keep in mind and know is that you do not owe anyone a vote but you owe yourself a vote, a vote is a personal decision derived from a personal solution.
Personally, I highly recommend everyone to vote because everyone has an opinion. 
The reason why democratic elections exist is for every person to have a say in everything going on, but is it still a democracy when we have eligible voters abstaining from voting? An unacceptable funny and shocking fact within the Namibian context is that a huge number of people that distance themselves from voting is we the youth, the same people that claim to know what Namibia should do in order to achieve its desired goals. 

Unapologetically, no one in a political setup will give you an opportunity to make a difference if you are unwilling to feature on the field of play. 
As a nation, we can only make the electoral process stronger when we have a vast voting population casting their votes.
The significance of having a voter’s card is equivalent to that of a national identity card. 
Moreover, if you are (18 years and older) you are only able to rightfully criticize actions of government if you are an active and regular voter. 
Factually, in any democracy the government is for the people and by the people. Thus, the article is recommending for central government to come up with a legal regulation that appreciate and makes provision for individuals who are active voters. 

In a situation in which different candidates lobbying for the same employment opportunity within government meet the basic requirements for the job, active voters should stand a higher chance than inactive voters in the employment selection process. 
Therefore, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has to work tirelessly in ensuring that the data for active voters is collected and presented to government institutions when required in order for it to feature as a selection requirement in the employment process. 
Hence, we cannot have people that are eligible to vote wanting to work for government but they are unable to decide the government.

*Petrus Ndeumono Mbidi has a diploma in Local Government Studies, an honours degree in Public Management, and he is a final year Masters of Public Administration student at the University of Namibia.

2020-10-07  Staff Reporter

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