For a couple of years now, Namibia’s young blood have undeniably been proving their capabilities of taking up more leadership positions.
Twenty-two-year-old Martha Imene is one
such youngster. She became the youngest local authority councillor at 21 after winning a seat on the Oshakati Town Council late last year.
Youth Corner caught up with Imene recently. She told us she hopes her new role in society will motivate more young people to take up leadership roles and make changes in their communities.
“It is about time we youths show leadership through our participation in decision-making
in economic, social and political affairs in the country. I can proudly say that at local authority level, the youth is well-represented,” she said confidently.
Although she is proud to be the youngest councillor so far, Imene observed that the local community of Oshakati had bestowed trust and the huge responsibility on her because of her capabilities, and not her age.
Born at the Onayena village in the Oshikoto region, her journey and appetite for politics was inspired by Independent Patriots for Change leader Panduleni Itula, and also by her own desire to ensure young voices are represented in decisions that affect them.
“As an elected representative, I am looking forward to deliberate on the issues affecting
local communities. I need to make sure we are collectively prioritising most important projects
that can create job opportunities for all, and empower local young people,” she stated. High municipal levies, especially for the elderly, a ban of illegal shacks construction, lack of sanitation and improper infrastructure are some challenges she aims to tackle.
The young leader added that the council has so far passed motions on several matters affecting their community, and plans are underway for these to be put in action.
Imene said she would like to be remembered as a leader of action, advocating for nation-building not only at the local authority level, but at national and international levels. “I also want to be remembered as a young person who desired and looked for change by taking part in political activities intended to influence the composition of the government,” she enthused. Imene completed her secondary education at the Evululuko Secondary School in 2017, and plans to further her studies at local universities. In the meantime, she is “testing the waters” of entrepreneurship.
“Young people should not wait until decisions are made on their behalf for them to react, but should get involved from the onset. The youth must follow their passion, stay away from destructive ways and build our country to where we want it to be. The time is now or never,” she advised.