Malawi is yet to forget the terror Young Democrats (YDs) unleashed on innocent people during the decade of United Democratic Front (UDF) rule. However, a new youth wing called Yellow Youth for Change (YYC), comprising professionals, has emerged in the party. What is it about? Ephraim Nyondo caught up with YYC’s publicity secretary Kelvin Zulu to find out more.
Q: What kind of people are in this wing?
A: Basically, it is a group of young vibrant members of United Democratic Front (UDF) called Yellow Youth for Change (YYC). Like any other wing, it is a non-profit affiliate to UDF and it is basically a representation of the youth. Its members are of different professionals with a common interest in policy advocacy and economic reforms.
Q: How will it work when already there is another wing in the party?
A: As far as we are concerned, there is nothing wrong with the party having more than one wing. UDF is our mother body and it can have as many units as possible as long as they have different functions but a common goal. We will have no problems since each affiliate to the party has its own well-defined roles but same common goal. In fact, in that manner, we are only basically broadening our base for reaching out across the country.
Q: What problem in the country involving the youths and democracy is your wing responding to?
A: We are a youth-centred wing. And if you would note, our post-independence politics has not been rosy for the youth, especially during this democratic dispensation. Apart from being the majority in the country, the youth have principally [been spectators] in this country’s politics. If involved, then it is through being agents of destruction than building. We saw it with Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) during MCP era, with Young Democrats during the UDF reign and recently with Youth Cadets in DPP. This is an image we want to erase, and it is the political problem we are responding to.
Basically, the youth need to understand political-based democratic systems and economic policies and the future implication now, especially when they are the future leaders. Many people and perhaps not only the youth take voting casually. It is unfortunate in today’s politics to see people we regard as experienced politicians using abusive words, with the aim of destroying others. Political parties are not there for destructions. If anything, a party should focus on economic and infrastructural development and their methodologies, and not wasting time and the country’s already limited resources.
Q: What do you want to achieve?
A: Our wish is to build an understanding of political-based democratic systems mainly to our fellow youths. Every party’s wish is to help as well as provide support to all its candidates contesting in elections. We believe that as youths, we can make the right decisions if we can grow a passion to understand political-based democratic systems and economic policies now.
Q: It appears the problem of youths being sidelined to medium of violence dates back to MCP era. Recently, we even saw it in DPP Youth Cadets. Why the resilience?
A: We believe that being active youths, we are in a position of understanding our fellow youths better and that taking a well-structured approach to reformation, sensitisation and above all, campaign awareness for positive change, we would achieve positive results even in the most challenging political and economic circumstances. It is very important to make the youth understand the process of infrastructure development and that violence, looting, brutality and other immoral acts have and will never be a part of the key to success. From the conscience point of view, anybody involved in any of the above filthy acts mentioned contributed to this crushing unfriendly economy that we are experiencing today.
Q: What strategies has your wing put in place to show that you are a model for change?
A: Discipline is of paramount importance in our group and violence has and will never be a part of the key to success. As a group, we have a strong disciplinary committee. We have various strategies and many activities outlined that we intend to reach our fellow youths with, centred on providing civic education in various aspects of economic growth and reformation whose details I cannot mention here.
Q: What mechanism have you put in place to make sure that the strategies are followed?
A: I certainly believe “commitment” and “practice” is more or less the same thing. It is very difficult for one not be committed to practice and vice versa. Most importantly we need to be realistic and optimistic.
Q: Where do you want to see youths in 2030?
A: To have youths who will understand that a better tomorrow is achievable and starts with ourselves. Therefore, the youth need patience and understanding that all things around us are keys to our economic growth, and damage to any of our built infrastructure and business that are already in place is only retarding our own socio-economic development regardless of who the owner may be. We would like the youths of this country to attain self-reliance and become responsible citizens the nation can depend on while in their younger youth days and not to be regarded as tools for destruction.