Youth leagues & youth voter apathy: The clearly unclear relationship

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Voter Apathy in general & Youth Voter Apathy in particular remains a major challenge in Botswana. Thus the rationale plus hypothesis of the 4th October 1997 Referendum that among others; reduced the voting age to 18 years has arguably never been realised.

This is unfortunate for the referendum had important implications for Botswana’s democratic system in general and the electoral system in particular. The issue of principal concern was that the electoral system should widen political participation to groups that were previously excluded from electoral politics; emanating the advances of emerging democracies in the region such as Namibian and South African (at that time). In a journal article titled ‘The political implications of the 4 October 1997 referendum for Botswana’ veteran political scientist Mpho G. Molomo clarifies unambiguously the referendum as an instrument for improving Botswana’s electoral system.

The Independent Electoral Commission (ICE) has correctly been blamed for this undesirable state of our democratic and electoral fabric. Their incompetence cannot be over emphasised; their continued failure to embark in meaningful and sustainable political and citizen consciousness, their constant disappearance after national elections only to surface for by-elections or the next general election, the absence of the long overdue online registration and voting, general failure to stimulate momentum and sometimes trust among citizens as well as failure to reach their own realistic 1.4 million registration target this year. Nonetheless in direct and indirect wording IEC has on several accounts admitted to their lack of effectiveness and in most cases promised to improve. The scope of this article is not to recite the well-known shortfalls of the IEC, which is undeniably propelling Voter Apathy at large. This article serves to accentuate a parallel and uncommon school of thought regarding flourishing voter apathy at large, particularly Youth Voter Apathy in Botswana.

Editor's Comment
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