Embracing Peaceful Elections for Namibia’s Future

This year’s elections are notably different from previous ones. This dynamic shift in the political landscape brings both excitement and concerns, particularly regarding the potential for electoral violence.Namibia has long been heralded as a beacon of peace and stability in Africa.

Since gaining independence in 1990, the nation has conducted elections free from violence and unrest.This tradition of peaceful democratic processes is a cornerstone of our national identity and a testament to our collective commitment to upholding democratic principles. However, as we approach the upcoming elections, there are unsettling signs that this time could differ.The heightened political competition has introduced a degree of tension that we are not accustomed to.While robust political debate and passionate advocacy are healthy for any democracy, these must not cross the line into violence and intimidation.

Electoral violence can have devastating consequences for a nation. It undermines the legitimacy of the electoral process, erodes public trust in democratic institutions, and can lead to long-term social and economic instability.We have seen the tragic outcomes of electoral violence in other countries, which are stark warnings of what we must avoid. For example, Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence resulted in significant loss of life, displacement of people, and severe damage to the country’s socio-economic fabric. The nation has since worked hard to rebuild and restore peace, but the scars of that period are still evident.

On the other hand, countries like Botswana and Ghana have consistently demonstrated how elections can be conducted peacefully, even amidst intense political rivalry. These nations have shown that it is possible to navigate electoral tensions without resorting to violence, and they stand as exemplary models for us to follow.

In Botswana, successive elections have been marked by orderly conduct and respect for the democratic process, regardless of the outcome. Despite having a vibrant and sometimes contentious political scene, Ghana has managed to hold multiple peaceful elections, showcasing the maturity of its democratic institutions and the resilience of its people. As Namibians, we must remember that our strength lies in our unity and our shared commitment to a peaceful and prosperous future.

The power to ensure this election is conducted peacefully rests in our hands. Political leaders must lead by example, promoting tolerance and respect and condemning violence. Security forces must remain impartial, ensuring all citizens’ safety and the electoral process’s integrity. Most importantly, we as citizens must exercise our right to vote with dignity and respect for one another. Engaging in violence only undermines the very foundations of the democracy we cherish. Let us draw inspiration from the examples of peaceful elections worldwide and strive to make this election a proud chapter in Namibia’s history.