• July 5th, 2020

Political parties accused of ignoring young voters

WINDHOEK - Young voters feel local political parties are not doing enough to lure young people to vote in the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for November.

 Youth Activist Emma Theofelus said this generation is one that appreciates rapid information, appreciate images, sounds, videography and none of the political parties have actually tapped into those resources to attract the masses of young people who are eligible to vote. 

Theofelus was answering whether local parties are doing enough to lure young people who constitute about 65 percent of voters.

 “Young people today enjoy dialogue, conversations. They want to be spoken to. They want to participate, they want to ask questions and they want to ponder. If you see the engagement on Twitter, there are young people constantly trying to get the attention of leaders who are on Twitter and other social media platforms,” stated Theofelus.

 She added that political leaders have a traditional approach of dealing with tough and uneasy questions and not sure what to answer but young people do not appreciate that, noting that young people want head on engagement and that has not been forthcoming.  

“We have seen in this past few weeks that traditional rallies attract older generation as opposed to younger generation. So, political parties need to introspect and have a change in shift into how they can use the different tools out there that is good for young people to pay attention to,” stated Theofelus.

Another youth political commentator Shaandre Cavin Finnies told New Era that political parties across the board have no interest in genuinely engaging young people. 

“Most parliamentary lists that I have seen thus far does not include young people in its top 10. Party leadership across the board doesn’t include young people. Youth leagues are not speaking to the needs of the young people. Both rural and urban young people are constantly polarised and disenfranchised,” said Finnies. 

Finnies added political parties only cater for a few elite groups of young people, those who are connected and constantly political active.  

“As such, young leaders become tools for political battle in the country, thus losing focus on genuine youth empowerment. Should people stay away form the polls this year, none of us can blame them,” Finnies stated.

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) Chief Electoral Officer Theo Mujoro told New Era they have done enough on sensitising young people to register as voters. Mujoro said they continue to do what they are supposed to do as the electoral commission, to encourage young people to participate in the electoral process. “As you rightly said, young people constitute a quiet significant percentage of the voters register. What we are currently doing is to spread the word as much as we can to ensure young people come out and vote on November 27, it is an on-going process,” said Mujoro.

Political analyst Nico Horn said political parties’ manifestos don’t have a clear ideological position. Horn said if he was to come to Namibia two years ago and eligible to vote for the first time, with South African perceptive and didn’t know Namibian politics, he would not know who to vote for. 

“I would not know the difference between the parties and if you read the manifestos of Swapo and PDM it is not very different, they emphasise the same thing. Growth, income, prosperity and accountability all these vague democratic issues. It does not tell the difference between my party and the other party. What are we offering that the other party isn’t? - That is the main problem. I can imagine it is also a problem for young people to make a decision under the circumstances, so the best way for many young people is to follow patterns of the family. If you are born in the Swapo family, you vote for Swapo. If you are born in DTA, you vote for Popular Democratic Movement (PDM),” stated Horn.

Selma Ikela
2019-10-14 06:23:02 | 8 months ago

Be the first to post a comment...

You might also like...