Local movement encourages youth to vote
Joseph Ndondi, co-founder of Iamvoting Namibia, is leading a movement which was launched in May to encourage the youth to be conscious voters and to close the gap of registered youth voters and those who actually vote.
Ndondi who is a 3rd Year Economics student at the University of Namibia, works with 30 young volunteers across the country to sensitize the youth to vote and to discourage voter apathy amongst the youth.
“I know how it feels like not to know anything about voting and most importantly who to vote for, therefore we need information years before the election and not a few months before the elections,” he explained.
He said he has been in the situation where he has registered to vote, but did not know who to vote for.
“Most of the youth do not know what is going on around them politically, because there is an information gap, we either vote for the party that our parents vote for or do not vote at all,” he said.
According to Ndondi, even though the Electoral Commission of Namibia is responsible for voter education amongst other functions that they do, they are not doing it the right way or not well enough, which, he does not see as their fault because they lack the resources to really make a difference in voter education.
“We mainly focus on entertainment, social media and entrepreneurship to get the attention of the youth, we have an Instagram, Tweeter and Whatsapp account where we convey all our messages, therefore speaking to the youth in the medium they understand and enjoy,” he said, referring to their advocacy group.
Ndondi explained that they have held a pledge night, where the youth is entertained and while doing that they pledge with their phone number and Whatsapp to vote.
“We want the youth to be voter conscious and the most important question that they always ask is: Vote for what? Which translates to, it will not make a difference even if we vote, and that is the mindset we want to change,” he added.
He made it clear that they are not affiliated to any political party, therefore making them objective and unbiased.
“We just want the youth to be well-informed about their voters’ right and also urge the non-participating population of the country, for example the Damaras, whites and coloureds, to be more active and receptive to information given to them,” he said.
He stated that they want to create a generation that works together and not to concentrate so much on individualism, which means that most people are just ‘sipping their tea’, while everything around them is falling apart.
“In the near future we want to organise political debates to be aired on nbc, so that parties can talk about and explain their policies to the people, because the youth is hungry for information,” concluded Ndondi.
The Electoral Commission of Namibia was expecting approximately 300,000 new voters registrations, but only approximately 200,000 new voters actually registered, according to Ndondi.