Youth leaders say 200 000 supplementary voters not worth celebrating

Several youth league leaders on the local political scene are dismayed by what they termed disappointing voter turnout during the supplementary voters registration that ran from 08 � 27 July 2019.

Official statistics released by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) indicate that a little over 200 000 voters registered during the supplementary voters registration period.

This is 100 000 voters short of the 300 000 voters [people who turned 18 since the last election in 2014] that the commission had targeted at the start of the supplementary registration.

It remains unclear how many voters registered for the first in 2019.

Be that as it may, the youth leaders in their respective political formations believe that the number is not worthy of celebration.

The number is not satisfactory at all. [But] it is relatively okay. I know that there are many Namibians out there who qualify to vote but did not go out there to register, Ephraim Nekongo, the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary told this agency on Monday.

All hope, however, for Nekongo is not lost for the youth leader.

It's not just about having a voter's card. You must put that card to good use. Go out there in big numbers and vote, Nekongo appealed.

Agreeing with Nekongo was Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) youth leader, Marvin Veseevete who described the turnout as very low.

Democracy will only prevail if every Namibian who is 18 and older participates in this democratic process. It is only if we all participate that we can address the issues of the daythese are unemployment, corruption, and the ever-growing inflation to name a few. Namibians have the onus to vote for the right people in the right position, he said.

Echoing similar sentiments was Swanu's Brian Ngutjinazo pinned his disappointment on ECN's cumbersome and slow voters registration process.

The process was very slow and this discouraged some people, especially the youth to register. Even here at Unam, there were just two slow computers to cater for all the students. Plus, the registration period was very short, he said.

National Unity Democratic Organisation's (Nudo) VeparuraKandirikirira said ECN failed to reach its target, hence his discontent.

The ECN targeted over or 300 000 new voters which they did not reach. It clearly shows that they did not do their homework very well and the supplementary registration period was very short, Kandirikirira said, adding that it would be satisfactory if at least 60 per cent of the registered voters were to cast their vote in November.

More so, Popular Democratic Movement's BensenKatjirijova was equally concerned about the process.

We thus call on the ECN to explore alternative mechanisms in order to extend registration or create a second phase for supplementary registration of voters, Katjirijova said.

Meanwhile, the ECN is adamant that the registration period will not be extended as doing so will be a waste of resources.

The 200 000

Source: Namibia Press Agency