Ghana Cote d'Ivoire Guinea Malawi Flag Malawi Flag Niger Flag Mauritania Flag Botswana Flag Namibia Flag Mozambique Flag
African Elections Project coverage of Namibia's elections ended in 2009. Please visit www.africanelections.org for elections updates
 Quotes: "The sudden assertion of human criteria within a dehumanising framework of political manipulation can be like a flash of lightning illuminating a dark landscape - Vaclav Havel"
Political Parties
Knowledge Center
Email News Subscription
SMS News Subscription
RSS Subscription

SMS us @


Last Updated:22 May 2014
Email story Print story Namibia
Namibia: Why we must vote
Next week Namibians will go to the polls in the presidential and national assembly elections. While voting is not compulsory in this country, it is nevertheless important that our people turn out in high numbers to exercise this right.

Not only is it crucial to vote, but it is perhaps even more vital to give extensive thought beforehand to which party or presidential candidate to vote for and why.

We are fortunate to have choices, although the plethora of political parties, many of which are sectarian or weak and unsophisticated, may not be to everyone's liking.

Living in a democracy is supposed to mean that the people get a say in who runs the country and how the country is run. Some may question whether their vote counts, and sometimes it may also be hard to see if it makes a difference, but it won't make any difference at all if one doesn't exercise this right!

It must also be remembered that in many countries of the world people would love to be able to cast their ballot and make a difference but aren't able to do so. And after all, the liberation struggle was fought with precisely this in mind: the right for Namibians to choose their own government when apartheid colonialism had denied them this privilege.

In particular, the youth, the so-called 'born-free' generation who will be able to vote for the first time and who have the change to spell out to political leadership the direction they would like the country to be taking.

Often the youth vote is overlooked or underestimated by both analysts and political parties alike, and this may be due to the fact that youth generally aren't motivated to go to the polls as they are cynical about politics in general. Youth must therefore ensure their voices are heard and this can only happen if they turn out in numbers.

The youth must also remember that the biggest election issues often affect them most directly. They need to think about the future and the kind of country they will inherit from the older generation, and if they don't vote they throw away their ability to have influence over the kind of world they want to inherit.

Democracy can only work if the citizens, both young and old, are active participants. It is easy to say one vote doesn't make a difference, the reality is that every vote counts. If you don't vote, it is arguable whether you really have the right to complain about government decisions or actions that you don't like.

It may also be true to say that if you don't vote, you don't care about the country or what is happening to it, and again, all the apathetic people out there, including youth, should remember that people did die for their right to have a say in their own future.

As an independent newspaper, The Namibian would never prescribe a political choice for their readers or endorse any specific candidates, and in this light we would simply urge all the voters to be informed about their choices: read the various manifestos, follow the statements of the political elite of various parties in the media, look at the track records of those parties which have one in Parliament, among others, and make a thoughtful and critical choice based on how the policies of the various parties may resonate in your own lives and the future.

The thoughtful, rather than emotional vote, is by far the better option and would make for a better outcome. If one votes party X and candidate Y it must be because you've thought it through, and not simply taken the easy route of arguing that it was the way your parents voted or because it is the familiar option or because that party is anchored in your own ethnic group. Your priorities for the kind of future you would like to see are not necessarily the same as those of your parents.

So we would conclude this by appealing to Namibians everywhere to have their say in these elections and to make thoughtful and considered choices. We would also urge the Electoral Commission and all party leaders and supporters and observers to ensure the process is a peaceful one and that there is no violence, intimidation or coercion in the days ahead.

Hopefully the voters roll problems will be ironed out before the time, and that our 2009 Presidential and National Assembly elections be as free and fair as they can be with a good turnout at the polls.


Email story print story
Next Story    Opposition files another urgent court application 
Book Mark With: Delicious Digg StumbleUpon
latest Features