85 Percent of Youth Register to Vote

THE National Youth Council of Namibia (NYC) has expressed great satisfaction over the 85% of young Namibians who registered to vote in the 2014 elections, saying this was the largest turnout of youngsters since independence.

At a press conference last week, the deputy chairperson of the NYC board, Beatrice Kotungondo, said statistics released by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) on 14 March 2014, revealed that a total of 1 158 925 voters registered during the General Registration of Voters.

“The largest percentage of registered voters (44%) fell in the age group of 18-31 years, with the born frees making up 19.73% of registered voters,” she said.

When calculated against a total of the Namibian youth population of around 600 000, the figure represents 85%.

Kotungondo attributed the high turnout to the #STOPWAITING campaign, which was launched on 5 February at Groot Aub Primary School with the aim of encouraging young people throughout the country to vote.

“For a period of four weeks, young people were engaged through radio aerts, television aerts, print aerts, roadshows, talk shows, SMS campaigns, social media campaigns and major events,” she said.

According to Kotungondo, the campaign was spearheaded by the NYC with the support of the ECN and the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture.

She said in recent years, statistics revealed that the registered voter turnout had slowly declined since the first general election in 1989 and the campaign was meant to mobilise the youth to register before 2 March 2014.

Kotungondo added that the second phase of the campaign will kick off towards the end of April.

“The second part of our campaign will focus on getting young people who have registered to go and vote. We want to urge ministries, business bodies and individuals to support this campaign in order to continue reaching out to young people for the national elections,” she said.

Chairperson of ECN Nontemba Tjipueja earlier said the Namibian youth had stood up and made their presence felt during the General Registration of Voters.

“However, we should not rest on our laurels but continue to engage the youth and inspire them to go out and actually vote during the November Presidential and National Assembly elections,” she said.

Source : The Namibian