Economic Policies Cause Voter Apathy

Some people in Otjozondjupa, Khomas, Hardap and Kunene regions have expressed their no confidence in government’s ability to solve national problems, including those concerning the economy, which may lead them to boycott the elections later this year.

This was revealed in the Namibia National Electoral and Democratic Processes Baseline Survey 2012 announced yesterday.

According to the survey: “Respondents in the Otjozondjupa Region gly disagree that government’s economic policies have helped many people, which can be viewed as a contributing factor to voter apathy in the region.”

“There is a need for a study to investigate the relationship between voting and economic policies in Namibia,” recommends the report, especially in Otjozondjupa, where there is a perception among many respondents that the government’s economic policies have not helped many people.

One person each from 4 005 households across the country were interviewed during the three-month survey which was necessitated by the dwindling numbers of voters taking part in national elections.

The survey also measures the level of understanding of the public regarding electoral and democratic processes, and effectiveness of the Electoral Commission of Namibia’s (ECN) implementation of programmes and projects within its mandate.

During the 1994 elections, 156 690 of the 654 189 registered voters failed to cast their vote while in 1999 a total of 337 755 of the 878 869 registered voters failed to cast their vote.

During the 2004 elections, 148 473 of the registered 977 742 voters never bothered to vote.

During the previous elections, 370 659 of the registered 1 181 802 voters did not cast a vote.

The Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) was contracted to conduct the N$3 million ECN commissioned survey.

The survey also states that a large number of respondents in urban areas do not recognize the importance of holding elections every five years in Namibia.

“The majority of respondents across all regions, both urban and rural, believe that an individual may contest, as an independent candidate, for the portfolio of constituency councillor,” the report states.

Most of the respondents indicated that they receive more voter education from ECN officials than political parties.

“75.7 percent of the rural respondents indicated radio as the most effective medium of communication. In urban areas television was the second highest followed by newspapers,” states the survey.

Namibia will later this year conduct its sixth Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Provisional figures indicate that 1 162 366 have been registered to vote during the upcoming elections.

Source : New Era