Youth urged to participate in elections

INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS … MacDonald Vihanga plans to bring change as an independent candidate in the upcoming regional council and local authority elections.

Youth activist and founder of the Generation Next Youth Club at Okahandja, as well as various youth programmes, MacDonald Vihanga, says Namibia needs more independent candidates to truly acquire independence.

Born in 1988, Vihanga believes in the art of giving but as the saying goes, one cannot pour from an empty cup, hence Vihanga’s strong belief in innovation as a tool.

Vihanga says innovation has allowed him to make valuable contributions to society under the auspices of his youth organisations.

This has seen him placed on several boards and committees of public entities, such as the Namibian Society of Authors and Composers of Music and the Namibia Red Cross Society (Okahandja constituency), the Okahandja Municipality Youth Advisory Committee, as well as his July 2023 appointment as an alternate member of the Business and Intellectual Property Authority’s technical committee for national policy and strategy on intellectual property.

With hopes of running as an independent candidate in the upcoming regional council and local authority elections, Vihanga urges Namibians to begin supporting independent candidates, particularly those they believe are active and true representatives of society.

“As opposed to just voting for political parties that have had the upper hand and chance in past elections, but with no tangible or radical changes or results in the livelihoods of ordinary Namibians,” says Vihanga.

He adds that it is highly unlikely that independent candidates would betray the trust of the community because they have been serving the very same community from the grassroots.

“As Namibians, we need to become more involved and vigilant by seeking to understand the different dynamics that govern the political arena.

“The more independent candidates we have in our leadership structures, the closer Namibia, as a country, will get to attaining true independence,” says Vihanga.

He believes it is necessary to cultivate a culture of electing and supporting local heroes and community champions when they run for public office, because it is through these platforms and positions that they are better equipped to help communities by bringing much needed change and action.

“It has to be people who we recognise as true leaders and who are active in our nearest society,” says Vihanga, adding that independent candidates have no personal agendas or interests, apart from serving society.

“On the other hand, political parties are always looking out for personal gain and political leaders are often dominated and crippled by their party’s personal agenda, even though they may have good intentions or constructive ideas.”

While conducting personal research on the previous election results, Vihanga says he was surprised to discover that out of the hundreds of independent candidates that participated, only three have emerged victorious.

“This is worrisome. Either the public is very ignorant about change, or these so-called independent candidates just sprung out of nowhere and suddenly wanted to be elected into power,” he says.

“It is my opinion that before running for public office as an independent candidate, one needs to have already established a relationship with the community and constituency because you cannot just jump out of nowhere and expect people to trust you with their votes.

“Through the founding of my youth organisation, I have been able to reach and help people on many scales, and our activities speak for themselves.”

Last year, Vihanga received the award for Best Outstanding Activist of the Year at the Otji Champs Awards, hosted by the Otjozondjupa Regional Council and other stakeholders.

“I have absolute confidence that my people will put me where I belong in order to provide them all the creative solutions needed for the Namibian problems,” he says.

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