23-year-old Miss Namibia eyes presidency despite age limitations

Miss Namibia 2022, Cassia Sharpley, breaks barriers by declaring a presidential campaign despite being ineligible until the age of 35.

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Miss Namibia 2022 Cassia Sharpley has declared her intention to commence a presidential campaign despite being ineligible to run until she has reached the age of 35.

Article 28 of the Namibian Constitution stipulates that only Namibian citizens by birth or descent aged 35 or older are eligible to run for the position of president.

“It is not just something that sounds good on the ear, but an aspiration and something that inspires me as a Namibian. I will be vigorously trekking my way to the presidency while pinpointing various issues that need to be changed as the years go by,” she is quoted by The Namibian, adding she is fully aware of the constitutional requirements.

Sharpley, however, clarified that she is not aiming for an election during the upcoming year’s polls but that she considers her campaign to be a long-term project. While criticising the age restriction on the presidency, she noted that the groundwork for her presidential ambition had begun and she would be contesting as an independent candidate when the time is right.

“I just wanted to stir up excitement among the youth that we need to take up our space within our communities. I feel like there needs to be consideration in terms of the age limit because young people today are more advanced both technologically and in how they think and operate,” she said.

In 2022, Namibia’s ruling party nominated Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as its vice president, positioning her to become the country’s first female presidential candidate when the incumbent leader steps down in March 2024, VOA News reported.

Meanwhile, in Africa, Sahle-Work Zewde has been serving as the President of Ethiopia since her appointment in October 2018, while Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Joyce Banda are former presidents of Liberia (2006–2018) and Malawi (2012–2014), respectively. Also, President Samia Suluhu Hassan became the sixth President of the United Republic of Tanzania in March 2021, following the death of President John Magufuli.

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