Youth Decide Campaign (YDC) says political party alliances ahead of Malawi’s fresh presidential election must endorse the national youth manifesto, warning that they should not expect any youth vote if they refuse to sign the document and commit to implementing its contents.
YDC is a consortium of some youth civil sociey organisations in Malawi championing the implementation of the national youth manifesto which the consortium developed through a consultative process ahead of the 2019 tripartite elections.
The manifesto is a consolidated statement of the governance and development aspirations and demands of young people in the country.
Alliances ahead of the fresh poll, are: Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)+United Democratic Front (UDF)-led by President Peter Mutharika and Malawi Congress Party (MCP)+UTM party-led by Lazarus Chakwera.
MCP and UTM have actually also been joined by several other smaller political parties.
Addressing journalists in the capital Lilongwe on Monday, YDC Team Leader, Charles Kajoloweka, emphasized that the torchbearers for these alliances including a candidate for Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD)–must endorse the youth manifesto, saying the document is the hope for a group that constitute a huge chunk of voters in the forthcoming election.
“The manifesto focuses on fundamental development aspirations affecting young people. Any presidential candidate worth his name must speak to the contents of this document. If they do not, then they are not having the welfare of the youths at heart. And as YDC, we will advise young people not to vote for them,” said Kajoloweka who is also Executive Director of Youth and Society–a member of YDC.
Apparently, Chakwera, State Vice President and UTM Party leader Saulos Chilima–now running mate to Chakwera, UDF President Atupele Muluzi–now running mate to Mutharika, already endorsed the manifesto when they represented their respective parties in the 2019 election.
However, Kajoloweka said since some of these individuals are now in alliances, in which party manifestos need to change to reflect the interest of those alliances, then there must be this call for their renewed commitment to the youth manifesto.
He said YDC would be engaging these leaders soon on this exercise.
According to Kajoloweka, Mutharika did not sign the document initially and only assured YDC of his commitment by word of mouth through his Advisor on Civil Society, Mavuto Bamusi.
The team leader hopes the fresh call presents to Mutharika an opportunity to finally prove his commitment to the national youth manifesto.
Some of the demands in the manifesto, include: access to youth employment and vocational training, agribusiness and entrepreneurship, land acquisition and utilisation and youth leadership in politics and civic life.
Taking his turn to speak at the press conference, National Director for Young Politicians Union, Clement Makuwa–whose organization is also a member of YDC–said the consortium is ready to mobilize young people to listen to the presidential candidates if they commit to addressing the issues affecting them.
“We will use social media platforms, IEC materials and several other innovative ways to communicate with the youths in order to mobilize them behind their chosen leaders who truly seek to address their concerns,” said Makuwa.
Other member organisations to the YDC consortium include: Youth Net and Counseling and Network for Youth Development.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :