Young Namibians encouraged to take the lead in the upcoming elections

Niël Terblanché

With the Presidential and National Assembly elections fast approaching, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) is urging young people to step forward and play a leading role in shaping the future of the nation.

Chief Electoral and Referenda Officer, Petrus Shaama, stressed the importance of youth engagement in the electoral process, highlighting the Commission’s efforts to ensure a seamless and inclusive voting experience.

Preparations for the elections have been underway for years, with the ECN leaving no stone unturned to address challenges such as low voter turnout, especially among young voters.

Shaama assured the public that the Commission has devised strategies to encourage youth participation at the polls, recognizing their significant presence within Namibia’s voter population.

The recent launch of the electoral calendar by the ECN marked a milestone in the electoral process, outlining key activities leading up to the elections. Among these activities is the general voter registration, scheduled to take place from 3 June to 1 August this year, providing an opportunity for eligible citizens to register and exercise their democratic rights.

Graham Hopwood, Executive Director at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), stressed the imperative for young people to engage in elections, given their substantial representation within the electorate.

Hopwood pointed to the LeadYouth Ambassadors and Peer Advisory Programme as a crucial initiative aimed at mobilizing youth participation in voter registration and voting.

Lead Youth Ambassador, Oriana Ribeiro, echoed the sentiment, citing lack of knowledge as a barrier to youth engagement in elections.

Ribeiro emphasized the importance of education and information dissemination among young people, urging them to familiarize themselves with the electoral process, participating parties, and candidates.

Namibia joins other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, including South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius, and Mozambique, in holding elections this year.

The ECN’s call for youth leadership resonates louder than ever because of the vital role that young Namibians will have in shaping the democratic future of the nation.

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