Democracy building and civic responsibility: An analysis of tertiary students participation in the 2009 national elections focusing on Windhoek

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The study focused on students understanding and reasons as to why they do not participate in elections to vote. The major problem of the study was student participation in elections which continues to drop when students are considered the future of the country, whilst the electoral commission conducts election campaigns to encourage them to register in order to vote? The major objective of the study was to investigate why young people are increasingly disengage from politics and their understanding of civic responsibility with regard to participation in Namibian elections. The study adopted a mixed method approach, which involves both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The qualitative approach was used to understand the participant’s knowledge of youth participation in national and presidential elections and general understanding of democracy in the context of Namibia. Data was collected from the key informants that were identified and interviewed. Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were conducted in order to get in-depth understanding of the respondents about voter apathy. Quantitative responses to the questionnaires were classified and tabulated in different categories using the IBM SPSS 20 software. The coded data was analysed by means of One-Way Anova at significance level of .05 in order to determine the relationship of the variables. Significant variables to the study were identified and interpreted accordingly and where possibly linked to literature review to gain a full understanding from both primary research data and secondary research. In addition, frequencies were generated and interpreted, leading to creation of different figures. Qualitative data was collected through interviews and FGD and data was coded. The major findings of the study were that there is much that needs to be done by political parties if they are to be in touch with the youths. Most of the youths are not voting because they are not interested in political change. It is recommended that youth voter education is encouraged to eliminate voter apathy in the students category. It is also recommended that there is need to create and develop outreach programmes that attract the students to participate in political activities. It is also recommended that political parties need to engage the youth in political activities in order to generate interest in them to participate in elections. There is also need to harness the media to educate and encourage the youth to use their democratic rights and civic responsibilities through voting. A further research with a wider population and an increase in variables is recommended.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Public Administration
Democracy, Civic responsibility, National elections