IT would appear that despite the best efforts of civil society organisations and political parties who staged rallies and even invited popular local and South African musicians to their events, young people still stayed away from the polling stations in large numbers last Saturday when the country voted in its third elections in five years.
The Lesotho Times went out to the streets of Maseru to find out from young people why many of them did not vote, their views on politics and whether they thought their voices matter. Some of the responses are captured below.
Tebello Lepolesa (22)
I realise that our government is mainly composed of old people and I think it’s time they stepped aside and let young people take the lead.
Young people always vote but there are always older people in politics and we don’t have younger people to look up to. The older generation can’t relate to the youth because they are not familiar with what young people need. I will only vote when I see that there is significant change in the next government.
Maqelepo Maqelepo (24)
I felt I could not waste my time by voting for a government that would not give me anything. For years the older generation have not taken young people seriously, so they end up feeling sidelined and the government never does anything to solve this issue. Young people have been complaining about unemployment for a long time and after all these years nothing has changed.
Bokang Molato (23)
I voted because I wanted change. As we all know, there’s a high rate of unemployment and I hope that the winning party will bring change and cater young people’s needs. I hope there will be job creation and many other innovative things that will benefit young people because we are the future of the country.
Lehlohonolo Erasmas (25)
As young people the topic of politics bores us and we don’t see the reason why we should be involved.
But as students we do not realise that politics affects everyone and in that way we should all take part.
When those who didn’t vote see the corruption in the country, they complain yet they did nothing to try and prevent that from happening through voting.
I don’t know much about politics but I felt I had to vote because I want the situation to change. I’m hoping there will be something different in later years.
Mpho Rathebe (21)
I didn’t vote because I don’t have any interest in politics. Most young people hate politics because we believe politics is better suited to the older generation who know more about it and have been involved in the government for a long time.
In most cases we hear rumours that people have to be promiscuous in order to get ahead in their career or you need a connections, so we ask ourselves why vote when the government is already so corrupted?
I hope the next prime minister will learn from the mistakes of the previous governments so that young people can look at matters in a different way.
Thabitha Polile (22)
Politics are so exhausting and hard to understand. It’s hard to keep up especially when you are in school. In most cases we find them complicated and people consider you ignorant when you have less information about them so I think most young people vote without enough knowledge so I decided not to vote.