Youth Can’t Look Up to Corrupt Leaders – Bandora

THE United Nations Development Programme resident representative, Musinga Bandora, has urged politicians to wash their hands clean of corruption if they truly want to serve as an inspiration to the Namibian youth.

Speaking during the International Day of Democracy themed ‘Engaging Youth in Democracy’ in Windhoek yesterday, Bandora said young people should be able to have corruption-free political role models they can look up to and be inspired to fully participate in democracy.

“But if political leaders engage in corruption and dictatorship, the youth will have no one to look up to,” he warned while appealing to the government to start using new channels such as social network platforms to effectively engage the youth in politics, as well as educate them and instil understanding in the process of politics.

He commended the country for registering 85% of young people for this year’s national elections, saying it signified the country’s progress in engaging the youth in democracy.

Bandora, however, said innovation was still needed to explore ways to further engage the youth. “Politics must be appealing and interesting to young people. While tradition has its place, our politics must be modernised enough to relate to our young people. Only then can they truly be involved.”

Judge President Petrus Damaseb said young people can either be passive observers or be active participants in the move towards democracy.

“Democracy requires us to respect others, especially across the gender divide. The youth should be socially responsible, including obeying the law,” he said.

Deputy speaker of the 4th Session of the children’s parliament Shaandre Finnies said the youth should be grateful for a platform where they can engage and consult government on issues affecting them.

“Other countries like Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo do not enjoy these privileges. Most young people don’t even go to school. We should be thankful that we can engage and consult our leaders,” he said.

Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) Emmerencia Gawanas said the youth (18-35 years) constitutes a large segment of the population and collectively possesses the power to transform the nation in the direction that significantly benefits them directly or indirectly.

“In the quest to combat voter apathy among the youth, it is imperative that political parties engage young people to ascertain their needs and perceptions of the democratic process.

“Based on Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, ECN recognises that young people are capable of forming their own views and should be assured the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting them, including voting to elect leaders of their choice,” she said.

Gawanas said as from yesterday (15 September), as part of recognising the International Day of Democracy, the Commission would aertise positions to recruit young people as ambassadors for the ECN for two months as encouragement to get them involved in the electoral process.

“These youth ambassadors will include youth with disabilities who will be trained in voter education. They will present to other youths topics including the constitution and elections, democracy, civic rights and obligations, political participation, and political tolerance. They will also be used to motivate others and explain the use of the electronic voting machines (EVMs),” she said.

This year’s event, organised by parliament and attended by pupils from different schools, was aimed at encouraging young people to actively engage in politics.

Source : The Namibian