WINDHOEK – Popular Democratic Movement Youth League (PDMYL) Secretary-General Bensen Katjirijova has called for the extension of the supplementary registration of voters that ended last weekend.
Speaking to Youth Corner, Katjirijova said the 200 000 people who registered is questionable. “There were a lot of barriers when it comes to the registration, including the registration points where people did not know where to go apart from the obvious schools that were highlighted,” he said.
He said ECN should use another opportunity. “The registration process takes longer and more time is needed to register compared to voting, which only takes a day, and people need to be encouraged to register,” he said. Contrary to the preconceived notion that Namibian youths are not interested in registering to vote, Katjirijova said he saw many young people at registering stations across Windhoek.
Katjirijova requested the ECN to explore alternative mechanisms to extend registration or to create a second phase for supplementary registration of voters. “If the ECN is serious about fighting youth voter apathy, it is important that they heed our call to ensure that youth participation in our elections is maximised,” said Katjirijova.
The youth league noted that while the ECN targeted around 300 000 new voters, the commission only managed to register about 200 000 new voters, which points to the serious reality that the majority of young people were not able to register.
The PDMYL also congratulated the ECN on the registration of voters. “This is indeed an important democratic process that ensures that the masses of our people, specifically the young, are allowed to register and participate in the imperative democratic process called elections,” stated Katjirijova.
“PDMYL has been active on the ground, ensuring that our young people are registered and that things at registration points were in order, in line with our oversight responsibilities,” revealed Katjirijova.
Furthermore, PDMYL has condemned the rather “unacceptable” treatment of registration officials during this particular supplementary registration of voters. “It was very sad and unacceptable to note that registration officials were required to use their own money to buy food, water and other necessities during the whole process,” read the press release.
PDMYL further alleged some officials were forced to walk long distances from their homes to the registration points. “We thus call on the ECN to improve in this regard going forward. We also call on ECN to make sure that registration points, specifically those set up in tents, are named to ensure the smoothness of the whole process, as some people could not identify where they registered, ” reads the PDMYL press release.