Miss Namibia 2022 Cassia Sharpley (23) says she has started her presidential campaign now, although she will only be eligible to run as an independent candidate once she turns 35.
She says she is not gunning for election during this year’s polls, but her campaign is a longterm project.
Sharpley will be able to stand as a presidential candidate in the next presidential election in 2036, as she will be 36 by then.
This comes after commentators criticised her social media announcement that she would be running for the presidency as an independent candidate, saying she is using this as clickbait to get more hits for her podcast.
Article 28 of the Namibian Constitution says any Namibian by birth or descent who has reached the age of 35 is eligible to run for the position of president.
Speaking to Desert Radio on Thursday, Sharpley said she does not want her campaign to start a few years or months before she hits the age of 35.
“It is not just something that sounds good on the ear, but an aspiration and something that inspires me as a Namibian. I will be vigorously trekking my way to the Presidency while pinpointing various issues that need to be changed as the years go by,” she said, adding she is fully aware of the constitutional requirements.
“I just wanted to stir up excitement among the youth, that we need to take up our space within our communities. I feel like there needs to be a consideration in terms of the age limit, because young people today are more advanced both technologically and in how they think and operate,” she said.
ELIGIBILITY CLAUSE ‘UNFAIR’
Deputy Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader Henny Seibeb also spoke to Desert Radio, saying: “It does not make sense at all. The Constitution should not set age limits when it comes to possible presidential candidates, as well as the National Assembly.
“I think it’s unfair and discriminatory in a modern democracy and should not be allowed, because it excludes some citizens of the country from ascending to the Presidency.
“Maybe it calls for a review. The 35 years, further going to 40 and 50, is too old. This age restriction could be pushed down to 25 or even 21 years old.
“But I think an age limit in a democracy, especially when it comes to running for the Presidency, is unfair and undemocratic.”
Seibeb denounced the argument that people younger than 35 lack sufficient political or public administration experience and qualifications.
“That (argument) would have made sense some 30 years ago. The youth today obtain their master’s degrees by age 24 and doctorates by age 28.
“Therefore, the argument about relevant qualifications and experience does not hold water,” he said.
Seibeb expressed the need for thorough research on the subject of eligibility.
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