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Over 500 000 registered to vote

2024-06-28  Paheja Siririka

Over 500 000 registered to vote

Preliminary statistics indicate that since the commencement of the General Registration of Voters (GRV) on 3 June, a cumulative 536 202 eligible Namibians had registered as voters by 22 June 2024.

This number includes all those who registered at Namibian diplomatic missions abroad, which recorded close to 1 000 eligible voters.

“The nation is at this moment informed that the GRV continues across the country and at all Namibian diplomatic missions abroad until 1 August 2024, Monday to Saturday from 08h00 to 19h00,” chief electoral and referenda officer Petrus Shaama stated.


The administrator reminded and urged all eligible Namibian citizens who are yet to register to do so as soon as possible, reiterating that the Commission will not extend the exercise beyond the set due date.

Based on the current figures, the number of females younger than 35 stands at 58 886, while their male counterparts who registered to vote are 59 811. The figure for females older than 35 stands at 101 371, while eligible males are 98 243.

The Commission has been persistently encouraging and pleading with Namibian youths to be more proactive in the registration process as the elderly are mostly seen at registration points across the country, yearning to exercise their democratic and civic duty, come 27 November.

With Namibia recently hitting the three-million population mark and 70% of those being the youth, a lot is expected in terms of this demographic’s participation in the decision-making of the country.


Expert view

Sociologist Ellison Tjirera told New Era yesterday that previous elections of the recent past have been instructive in revealing a disjuncture between registration and actual turning up at the voting booth.

“In other words, voter turnout has been consistently low. 

As much as the more than 500 000 registered voters is an enviable statistic, a lot of work needs to be done to ensure that those who register do turn up on voting day,” said the University of Namibia’s senior lecturer.

Tjirera noted that young people have been notorious for not turning up to vote.

“It follows that ECN as well as political parties must deliberately target young voters in their information dissemination. Going through registration and not voting is a waste of resources. Perhaps we should move towards making voting compulsory for all eligible voters, and institute some penalties for non-voting,” he wondered.

Weighing in from across the Atlantic Ocean, Namibia’s ambassador to Cuba Samuel Goagoseb said they have been playing a role in making sure that those in Havana get the opportunity to register and eventually vote.

“We only have students here in Havana. We also informed them about the registration process a long time ago. The mission has ensured that military students will be collected by the defence attaché. Additionally, we have written to the schools to release others. This is a crucial exercise that eligible Namibians should be part of,” he added.

Meanwhile, Namibia’s ambassador to China, George Elia Kaiyamo, told New Era that the registration of voters has been going well in Beijing, and the message is clear on the need for Namibians to register and vote in the presidential elections due in November.


Big moment 

In November, Namibia’s democracy will be tested again when the country holds its most crucial election since the dawn of democracy in 1989. 

That year, close to 700,000 eligible voters exercised their democratic rights in a vote which catapulted Swapo to power and Founding President Sam Nujoma to the highest office in the land.

Recent statistics from the ECN’s 2022–2023 annual report show a growth in the voting age population in Namibia, with 1.3 million eligible voters, of whom only 370,826 are registered for local authority elections.

The reports further reveal that for the Presidential and National Assembly elections, voter turnout declined from 97% in 1989 to 61% in 2019.

As for the Regional Council and Local Authorities elections, voter turnout has dropped below 50% from 81% and 82%, respectively, in 1992, to 38% and 43% in 2020.

2024-06-28  Paheja Siririka

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