The Youth Decide Campaign leaders still long to meet President Peter Mutharika after he failed to append his signature on the Youth Manifesto prior to the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
Youth Decide Campaign team leader Charles Kajoloweka, who is also the Youth and Society (YAS) executive director, expressed optimism yesterday in a written response that Mutharika is still committed to signing the document which outlines development aspirations of the country’s youths as well as policy suggestions.
However, Mutharika’s adviser on civil society organisations (CSOs) Mavuto Bamusi was not clear in his response yesterday as to when the President, who has just began his second and last term of office, will be ready to meet the youth for a discussion.
Kajoloweka said the youth want to start engaging the President consistently on their aspirations which include the demand for creation of 500 000 jobs each year.
He said: “There is a pending appointment with President Mutharika. He had already committed through the presidential adviser on civil society to endorse the Youth Manifesto. We understand he had quite a tight schedule during the period we requested to meet him.
“We will now be following up on the pending appointment. We hope to meet him very soon.”
Kajoloweka, who has also been appointed as the Youth Ambassador for United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on youths, said the Youth Decide Campaign leaders further want Mutharika to sign the document because it is time for Malawian youth to start engaging constructively with all elected duty-bearers on development issues.
But Bamusi sounded skeptical when asked if the President is ready to meet the youths.
He said: “President Mutharika’s agenda for 2019 to 2024 is hinged on sustaining a people-centred government where the youth are embraced as a priority population for driving development forward. He is implementing a 2019-24 Manifesto whose scope is larger than the Youth Decide agenda.”
Bamusi added that government is already implementing programmes suggested by the Youth Manifesto, particularly on achieving a pro-jobs and youth friendly economy.
He cited skills development, education sector improvement programmes as well as expansion of university and tertiary infrastructures where youths will gain various employable skills.
Commenting further, Bamusi said: “The Mutharika Manifesto also focuses on sustaining a stable macroeconomic environment which is a prerequisite for decent jobs… The Youth Decide leaders must, therefore, derive their comfort in the fact that Malawians have decided for a developmental leader who is already taking action on issues in the Youth Manifesto.”
However, he said when the President sees it fit, he will be ready to meet the youths as soon as the new administration is fully structured.
Prior to the elections, UTM Party president Saulos Chilima, Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera and United Democratic Front’s (UDF) Atupele Muluzi appended their signatures to the document.
The document will be used as a yardstick for checking performance of the current leader on the promises he made for youths. It will be valid up to 2024.