OMUTHIYA – Governor of the Oshikoto Region Penda yaNdakolo has urged eligible voters to ensure that everyone in their respective households, including neighbours register before the official registration period ends next week.
He extended a special appeal to young people who turn 18 this year and are eligible to take part in the upcoming National Assembly and Presidential polls for the first time to register and vote in order to strengthen democracy in the country.
“As we are aware and as per the constitution of the Republic of Namibia, Namibia will this year hold its Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Since our hard-won independence in March 1990, we have had a sequence of Presidential and National Assembly elections in 1994, 1990, 2004 and 2010. The next one will therefore take place later this year,” he said.
Registration for this year’s elections kicked off on January 15 and the process is currently in full swing across the country.
“Judging from what I have observed at several registration points I have since visited, I am actually impressed by the high turnout of prospective voters. Despite a few normal hiccups here and there, the process is reported to be running smoothly so far, therefore I would like to thank all stakeholders for their kind co-operation and support,” said the governor.
Ya Ndakolo further explained the principles of democracy and the dynamics associated with it, noting that it was important to raise awareness amongst first-time voters to ensure maximum participation in the forthcoming elections.
“The constitution of the Republic of Namibia makes provision for these elections to be held every five years. In the presidential elections, eligible Namibians who are registered to vote can vote for candidates of their own choice. In the National Assembly elections, eligible Namibians who are registered to vote can vote for the political party of their choice.
“Each political party must have submitted a list of candidates. Depending on how a particular political party performs in the elections, representation in the National Assembly is as per this list.”
He stressed that voting is important, because when you cast your vote, your voice is being heard.
“It is important to vote in elections because the people who are voted for make decisions that will affect you every day.
“These decisions can be far-reaching and determine the wellbeing of all of us, the Namibian nation. The socio-economic development of Namibia will only be possible and meaningful if the right decisions are made by the right people at the right time,” added Ya Ndakolo.
The governor also cautioned against voter apathy, stressing that citizens who do not vote are making a mockery of the country’s hard-won democracy.
“If you do not vote, you are denying yourself immense benefits and privileges that you are rightfully entitled to. The destiny of your beloved country is in your hands.
“If you do not vote, it can be equated to the head of the household who cannot make a decision pertaining to the running of his household, but instead allows the neighbour or any other stranger to make decisions on his or her behalf. This is an unacceptable state of affairs, which cannot be condoned neither tolerated”, he said.
He added that the inhabitants of the region should ensure that they are registered on time, to be able to vote.
According to him everyone should exercise a high level of political maturity and tolerance and not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation or intimidate, harass or threaten others, but rather be sincere and honest in all their dealings.
Ya Ndakolo also spoke out against drug and alcohol abuse, as well as respect for senior citizens.
“Do not abuse alcohol, as this is a potential source of evil and can harm peace and stability, and also give senior citizens the necessary support and assistance that they need, especially when it comes to long queues.”
He said he has no doubt that the region will record positive statistics during the on-going voter registration process.
By Engel Nawatiseb