Youths in Malawi, have vowed to start holding politicians accountable and to only vote for leaders with transformative development agendas.
This message, coming 41 days to the May 21 Tripartite Elections, was clear and potent as the youth launched the 2019-2024 National Youth Manifesto–the first such strategic document ever in Malawi–in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
Youth Decide team leader Charles Kajoloweka, who is also outspoken Youth and Society (YAS) executive director, said the youth, who constitute about 50 percent of the country’s population, will crack down on politicians who thrive on impunity and corruption, vices which have retarded development in the country.
He said: “Young people are tired and angry with the current state of development; hence, the demand for strategic direction. We are looking at young people as a powerful social capital to accelerate development in the country. They should have the capacity to engage the next government robustly… And we are going to engage robustly in all aspects.”
The document will be a catalyst for economic transformation in the country as it is tackling a number of issues such as the revising and redesigning of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (Yedef) while also looking on creation of 500 000 jobs for the youth each year.
On job creation, Youth Network and Counselling (Yoneco) technical adviser Benson Nkhoma Somba, who was a panellist in a debate that was held during the manifesto launch, said it is possible to have 500 000 jobs created every year depending on the commitment of the sitting government.
This will translate to 2.5 million youths getting jobs in various sectors of the economy by 2024 if the next government can adopt the newly-launched manifesto.
The manifesto will run alongside political manifestos which Kajoloweka said were formulated after consulting Youth Decide.
Political commentator Humphreys Mvula, in a telephone interview, said many political parties have not done enough research to understand the current demands of the youth.
“As a result, the manifestos they develop will only be relevant during the campaign period and not beyond that,” he argued.
Some of the organisations which supported the formulation of the National Youth Manifesto are Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa), Danish Church Aid (DCA), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the European Union, according to Kajoloweka.
The manifesto has 14 strategic points, with access to youth employment and vocational training being the first issue they want the next government to consider while agriculture and entrepreneurship come second.
A consortium comprising Youth Network and Counselling, M-Hub, Youth and Society, Young Politicians Society and other youth rights organisations will be monitoring its implementation.
Some points in the manifesto
1. Access to youth employment. 500 000 youths employed each year
2. No child should be learning under a tree by 2023
3. Scrapping off of quota system as a method for selecting students into university
4. Revise and redesign the Youth Enterprise Fund (Yedef)
5. Delink ACB from the Office if the President in terms of appointment of the director general.