Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera yesterday signed the Youth Manifesto presented to him by Youth Decide 2019 campaigners in Lilongwe.
Youth Decide 2019 team leader Charles Kajoloweka, who is also executive director for Youth and Society (YAS), said the manifesto will help the youth hold the next government accountable to demands outlined in it.
Speaking when he signed the document, Chakwera said the country needs a strong leader to address challenges that youths in the country are facing.
He becomes the third of the four main presidential contenders in the May 21 Tripartite Elections to sign the document. UTM Party presidential candidate Saulos Chilima, who is the country’s Vice-President, was the first to endorse it, followed by United Democratic Front (UDF) hopeful Atupele Muluzi.
President Peter Mutharika, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) torchbearer, is yet to sign the document.
Chakwera said youths form the majority of the population but there has been no political will to ensure that they should enjoy the country’s economic fruits.
He said: “Malawi is composed of a youthful population. Sometimes we older people look at things in our own way without understanding perspectives of young people. What we need is an emphatic leadership. Sometimes it is important to feel what the youth feel.”
On his part, Kajoloweka outlined a number of issues that the youth expect the next government to tackle after winning the elections.
He said previous leaderships did not fulfill their promises to develop the youth; hence, the Youth Manifesto.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Mutharika’s adviser on civil society organisations Mavuto Bamusi said the President is committed to signing the document and logistics are at “an advanced stage”.
Among other demands, the youth want the next leader to create 500 000 jobs for the youth each year and to award at least 10 percent of the total national contracts to youths.
While the youth presented their manifesto to political leaders, the Women’s Manifesto Movement also handed the Women’s Manifesto document to Chakwera on Monday.
The manifesto calls for equal representation of women and men in leadership positions, among others.