Namibia Only Country With Young MPs At IPU General Assembly

Namibia set an example at the recently ended Inter-Parliamentary Union General Assembly (IPU) in Geneva in Switzerland as the only country represented by members of the National Youth Parliament. Sandre Botma, the Speaker of the Children Parliament, talks more about the assembly to Youth Corner’s Sabina Elago.

You and fellow Namibian young parliamentarians recently attended an IPU meeting in Switzerland to mobilise young MPs to become active in politics. What exactly did you as young Namibian MPs take to this meeting?

The very first IPU Global Conference for young parliamentarians operated under the theme “taking democracy to task” and focused mainly on youth mobilisation within politics and leadership. Thus, naturally, the formation, and more importantly correct implementation and management of youth leadership platforms and forums was a key issue. Did youth know the first youth parliamentary structures were formed almost a century ago? Why are we still struggling to give them a voice then? Furthermore other burning issues raised by Namibian MPs were the situation in Libya and the issue of child soldiers in the DRC.

How successful where you in making your point?

Various opinions have been included in the final documentation and resolutions of the IPU global meeting of young parliamentarians and I believe we can see this as a success.

The essence of the meeting was the mobilisation of youths to become politically active. Has this been a concern in Namibia?

The Children’s Parliament and other platforms within Namibian borders have worked towards exposing and educating the youth about issues pertaining to politics and political systems. However, the problem remains that a portion of our youths do not want to be involved in politics, and those who want to are often unaware of the opportunities available to them. We have the platforms and foundations, we just need to utilise them properly and keep building on what we have.

Generally, how does Namibia fare in terms of the participation of the youth in politics compared to other countries, especially in the Sub-region before we compare Namibia with other countries worldwide?

The Namibian Children’s Parliament has had a total of four sittings since it has been formed and key issues depicted in these sitting’s communiqueacutes, presented at meetings of the National Assembly, have been attended to. This definitely shows that the youth have been given a voice in the Republic of Namibia. Although nothing is ever perfect and there will always be room for improvement, I am proud to say that Namibia has set an example at the IPU as we were the only country represented by members from a national youth parliament.

What is the way forward for Namibia with regard to getting the youths more active in politics in the spirit of the outcome of the meeting you just attended?

Children’s Parliament (CP) has embarked on media campaigns throughout this year to inform the youth about CP and its work. The key would be to build upon the foundation set by this. We are also looking into the electionnomination process of members of the Children’s Parliament to ensure equal opportunities and the best candidates.

Why do you think it is necessary for the youth to become politically active?

For a new generation, hungry for change and transformation, it is important to realise that politics in not the “groom and gloom” most believe it is but an true opportunity to be the change you want to see and to aocate, plan and aise for it.

Is political activism more important rather than the youth concentrating on their studies as education is usually the key to the future?

I cannot say the one is more important than the other, but I believe one can find a balance. Think about it will anyone be able to politically govern a countryinstitution without knowledge (acquired through education) to make sound decisions. And how important will education and knowledge be if we do not have a well governed structure to utilise it in?

Who are the Namibian young MPs who attended this meeting and what were their specific inputs into it?

The Namibian delegation to the IPU global conference of young MPs was made up of seven people, of which one honourable member of the National Assembly, two honourable members of the National Council, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Children’s Parliament, a legal aisor and parliamentary clerk. All delegates played distinct roles revolving around their respective fields from participation in parliamentary debate, chairing of sessions and legal aice to ensure an overall successful meeting.

Caption: Sandre Botma the Speaker of the Namibian Children’s Parliament, one of the seven young Members of Parliament (MPs), who recently attended the Inter-Parliamentary Union General Assembly (IPU) global conference of young MPs in Geneva in Switzerland.

Source : New Era