Meet Emma Theofilus, Namibia’s youngest MP and deputy minister, shattering Africa’s political glass ceiling

By Victor Akuma

Hers is a truism of grit, brilliance and determination to champion a new course in Africa’s political landscape.

In a continent where women and youth participation in politics remain at its lowest ebb, a Namibian youth is taking the gauntlet to change the narrative.

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Enter Emma Theofilus. At 23, Theofilus has etched her name on the sands of history, the knowledge bank of all ages, as Namibia’s youngest member of parliament.

She was among the eight non-voting members of the Namibian parliament appointed by President Hage Geingob last week Sunday.

In addition to that, she was also appointed as deputy minister of information and technology by Geingob — a development that has left several tongues wagging, particularly among the country’s old political elites.

But the young law graduate is unperturbed by the dusts raised by her appointment.

While speaking with The Namibian, Theofilus dismissed speculations surrounding her competence for the new position.

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“I do not think I am special, but I do not think I am inexperienced and I do not think being young or female has anything to do with my appointment. Anything I set myself to and any environment I want to work into, I can do it; so the issue of inexperience does not hold any water,” she said.

“So of course the minister, being the head and political appointee, and the deputy minister allow the whole ministerial position to function. It is a supporting role, just like any law has supporting regulations to allow it to function.

“I do not think being a deputy minister is a role that cannot be brought to life, the person should know what they have planned for that position and anybody can do it. It is not an insignificant role.”

A renowned public speaker, debater and law graduate, the young parliamentarian seeks to use her wealth experiences to championing quality representation while leveraging on technological advancements to enhance information dissemination in Namibia.

“The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has an important role to disseminate information of the government. I feel that needs to be improved so that people know exactly what government plans are underway and the role the government plays,” she added.

“As a former debater and law graduate, you can expect robust debates in parliament. As long as I have the support and guidance, I do not think I would go wrong. I will bank on the experience I have, but I am also willing to take advice and guidance from those that have been there before me,” she said.

Her appointment as deputy minister comes against the backdrop of her many years of involvements in leadership positions including at Nanso high school.

Theofilus was also the former deputy mayor and deputy speaker of the children’s parliament of Namibia even as she had also worked with various youth groups, such as Global Shapers Windhoek.

Following her appointment, she took to social media to appreciate well-wishers.

“Thank you all for your congratulatory messages,” she wrote on Twitter.

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