Pageant winners rally youth to register to vote

Miss Teen Namibia 2023 Oriana Ribeiro

Pageant beauty queens have encouraged the youth to register as voters for the upcoming presidential and National Assembly elections.

Registration for the forthcoming elections is currently underway and will run until 1 August.

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has announced that all eligible Namibian voters will have to register anew to vote ahead of the November elections.

Miss Teen Namibia 2023 Oriana Ribeiro, who is also the lead youth ambassador for the ECN, says she has successfully registered and now extends her encouragement to all Namibian youths to also participate.

Ribeiro says she will vote because she believes a bright future lies with the youth’s decisions.

She says in order for young people to secure their future, they must participate in the democratic process.

“It is important for young people like me to get involved in the electoral process by registering and voting. I am a proud Namibian citizen who believes in the power of democracy. I registered to vote, because I chose to play a part in my democracy,” Ribeiro says.

She says by registering to vote, the youth become active participants in shaping their futures.

Miss Namibia 2021 Chelsi Shikongo says she will register to vote.

She says it is important because even if you don’t like the agenda of a party, you can give those votes to a political party that can at least give you the benefit of the doubt that what they stand for something you can stand behind.

“We have gotten so much done with protests as the Namibian youth, and that for me is groundbreaking. We are starting the conversation and breaking generational barriers. We should all take this time to really read the agendas of every political party. Don’t lead with your emotions, but lead with your mind and educate, listen, read and keep yourself updated,” Shikongo says.

Miss World Namibia and Miss Namibia 1st runner-up 2022 Leoné van Jaarsveld urges every young Namibian to embrace their civic duty and register as a voter.

She says it is a fundamental right and responsibility to participate in shaping the destiny of our nation.

“Every vote cast is a voice heard, a choice made and a step towards building the Namibia we envision for ourselves and future generations. By registering to vote, we not only exercise our democratic freedoms, but also demonstrate our commitment to creating positive change. Our voices matter, our opinions count, and our actions today will shape the course of Namibia’s tomorrow,” Van Jaarsveld says.

“Let us not underestimate the power of our collective voices. As young Namibians, we have the energy, the passion and the vision to drive meaningful progress in our society. By actively participating in the electoral process, we ensure that our concerns, aspirations and dreams are represented in the halls of power,” she said.

Wendelinus Hamutenya-Jeremia

She says it is important for Namibias to educate themselves on the issues that matter and vote with conviction.

“The time for action is now and the future of Namibia depends on each and every one of us. Let us rise to the challenge and shape the destiny of our nation with hope, courage and determination,” she says.

Mr Gay Namibia 2012 Wendelinus Hamutenya-Jeremia says voting is a fundamental act of civic participation through which young people can contribute to democracy.

He says voting is a powerful way for young persons to make their voices heard and to have an impact on issues that affect them.

He says young voters have values that make Namibia unique.

“It’s election season and we expect to see political parties’ opportunists start trying to sow division. Young people must stay connected by shared values stronger than this discrimination, and that should be at the forefront of our minds in the coming months,” he says.

Hamutenya-Jeremia says historically young people in Namibia have voted at lower rates than older citizens, but he hopes things will start changing.

He urges the LGBTQI+ youth to not stand back, but to exercise their democratic and constitutional rights and vote.

“However, I would like to caution them to cast their votes wisely. They must openly challenge parties to clearly state their positions on gay rights and issues, including same-sex marriage and our right to have a family,” Hamutenya-Jeremia says.

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