Breastfeeding mother votes as she says her vote is her voice

A 34-year-old mother of a four-month old baby was among the people queuing to vote for her political party and candidate at the Stampriet Primary School in the Hardap Region’s Mariental Rural Constituency Wednesday.

Erika Swartbooi, who was breastfeeding her baby, said she needed to vote in the Regional Council and Local Authority elections in order to have a voice and hold those she voted into power, accountable.

She told Nampa she has no nanny to look after the baby, but that did not stop her from standing in the long queue since 07h00.

“I know the importance of the Regional Council and Local Authority elections as the decisions taken at local authority level involve me. I need to make sure through voting that I hold those voted into power, accountable,” Swartbooi said.

She added that is someone does not vote, they do not have a voice to complain about lack of service delivery.

“What we should remember is that your vote is your voice and without voting you are voiceless. The voter apathy among the youth should stop and we need to stand up and take part in issues that bring about change,” Swartbooi said.

She further added that the Electoral Commission of Namibia should also be held responsible for the voter apathy among the youth as she feels not enough is done to educate the youth about the importance of the elections.

First-time voter 20-year-old Wilma Coetzee, who cast her vote at the Stampriet Community Hall polling station, said she wants change and that is why she decided to vote.

“I have seen our people suffering and I feel I needed to vote to help bring in new leaders that have the interest of their people at heart. Staying away without voting will not help but will heap more misery on the already poor,” she added.

Another first-time voter, Morensia Higoam, 38, said she decided not to vote over the years but changed her mind as through voting she will have a voice for herself and her children.

No problems were experienced at the polling stations in Stampriet and voting went smoothly.

The Stampriet Primary School polling station had 120 voters before 12h00, while Stampriet Community Hall had 80 ballots cast in both the Regional Council and Local Authority elections.

Source: Namibia Press Agency