Supplementary registrations for this year’s elections have started and will run until the 27th July. Have you already registered? In times like these it is imperative that you let your voice be heard. I for one, have for the first time ever, registered as a voter.
Voting is a fundamental human right for every person. Voting not only enables us to vote for political parties and leaders, but it helps us understand the importance of citizenship. I felt extremely proud of myself after I received my voter’s card. I could even say I felt more “Namibian”. As a young woman, over the years I have always been passionate and vocal about politics but never actually saw the importance of voting. I had an “even if I vote, it won’t matter, it won’t make a change” mindset, which is quite ridiculous. If you think about it, there are plenty of us that think this way and perhaps if we all actually voted, there would be some sort of impact in the political atmosphere of our country, no matter how small. Who else is going to vote for your own interests and beliefs?
The political party or leader you vote for is supposed to embody someone who will fulfill your interests, implement policies which you believe in, and serve the people of Namibia.
Just recently one of our Ministers was found guilty in court for an act of corruption during her former role as governor of the Hardap region. In her case, she unlawfully swapped government-funded housing beneficiary names with those of her family members. This is just one small example of the type of corruption leaders undertake when they are in power. I have heard of plenty more unreported cases of ministers or political officials misusing their position and power to benefit themselves and friends or family. Unfortunately, this is a major problem on our beautiful African continent and in other places around the world. I find it to be a huge disgrace.
The very leaders who speak about “Liberation Struggle” in their campaigns, and helped fight for our freedom, or lived in times of oppression, have now become the exploiters of their own people today! Greed has taken over our people. Are we not tired of seeing those in power take advantage of us instead of looking out for our best interests and serve us as they vowed to? We must hold our leaders accountable and vote for those who show integrity in their acts.
Namibians - our voices matter. According to the Electoral Commission of Namibia, in the 2014 elections, out of the 1,241,194 who registered to vote, only 890,738 showed up to vote. SWAPO won the majority with 772,528 votes. What happened to the other 468,666 who did not show up to vote? Did you know our youth accounts for more than 50 percent of the population? This makes us a powerful political force. We therefore need to vote to directly influence the issues that might affect our lives for years to come.
Now that you have made the decision to register as a voter, you still have the difficult task of finding a party and presidential candidate that you’ll vote for. Luckily, there are a few options to explore in Namibia. Apart from SWAPO, according to the ECC website, there is; All People's Party (APP),Christian Democratic Voice Party (CDV), Congress of Democrats (COD), Democratic Party of Namibia (DPN), Landless People’s Movement (LPM), Monitor Action Group (MAG), Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF), National Democratic Party of Namibia (NDP), National Unity Democratic Organisation of Namibia (NUDO), Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Republican Party of Namibia (RP), Swanu of Namibia (SWANU), SWAPO Party of Namibia (SWAPO), United Democratic Front of Namibia (UDF), United People’s Movement (UPM),Workers Revolutionary Party. As we can see, there are various parties we can consider to vote for.
It won’t do our country good if we sit back and hope for the best without putting in our tiny bit of effort to register and vote for this year’s presidential and National Assembly elections. Our futures are in our hands.