APM, too, a disappointment on Malawian youth: ‘He’s technically in hiding’

That Malawi as a nation has completely lost direction as far as visionary leadership is concerned is no longer something to argue about. It is a fact. Half a dozen months have elapsed since the chaotic May 20 tripartite elections that re-ushered the controversial Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) into power, leading to the unceremonious exit of the clueless People’s Party (PP).

President Peter Mutharika

President Peter Mutharika

But, like it has been the case since time immemorial, Peter Mutharika’s government continues to offer no hope to the citizenry, particularly to the majority of the country’s youth if the current economic quagmire is anything to go by.

President Mutharika’s leadership is far from inspiring and seems clueless on fixing the economy and bailing out the majority of youth caught in grinding shackles of mortifying poverty. Truth be told; President Mutharika is technically in hiding. He seems to be only talking to his ‘not-so-clever’ buddies and an army of hopeless henchmen leaving the entire population wondering where their elected leadership is, in this economic crisis.

Despite clear leadership cluelessness and increased loss of control over state affairs, Mutharika seems unwilling and too naïve to embark on a comprehensive national dialogue process to boldly address the now precarious economic and governance stagnation. The leadership is talking to itself and cannot find any clue. Interestingly, Mutharika’s new fashionable tie with the public are memos of punitive and irrational hikes of user fees on public services such as on passports, driving licenses, resident permits, and education fees hugely impacting on country’s youth.

On the sidelines is a dangerous face of insecurity, open tribalism, complete shutdown of judiciary, striking teachers – ofcourse accompanied by shocking pockets of pupils’ protests.  Shameless corruption scandals by Mutharika’s cronies at National Aids Commission (NAC), for example, and unpardonable staged bribery of journalists at Sanjika Palace are worst ‘best practices’ of the new administration. No one knows how the leadership will deal with current economic malaise.  Donors’ unmoved aid position to Malawi and their hardballs on Mutharika’s government are unprecedented. I doubt if President Mutharika is working out any wonder to reverse the dangerous situation. He has completely lost trust in his quick-thrashed zero-aid budget. So, will Mutharika and his DPP deliver on campaign promises that sponsored their come-back to the country’s Capital Hill?

The worsening high cost of living due to skyrocketing inflation is a stern ambush against the majority jobless and working-poor young women and men. Youth poverty situation is each day worsening than yesterday. Despite all these challenges no one is talking to these young citizens. Where is the leadership to inspire hope to the young generation during these hopeless times? This is an opportune time for Mutharika to mobilize young people, share his strategic vision and inspire hope to move forward despite harsh struggles of our time.

Of course, it is only fair for citizens to bear with the fact that the new administration has no soft faculty to swiftly clean up the current economic governance quagmire in very short time.  This could have been fairly the same with any new administration considering the infamous plunder of resources at the country’s treasury. It is inexcusable however for Mutharika not to share the direction of his administration with citizens and development partners. Young people of this nation just as all citizens have every right to know where their elected government is taking them to and how it is set to alleviate their long suffering in short and long term map. It is ill-timed for Mutharika to be in hiding when 65 percent of the population dearly needs his full captainship of the economy and state affairs. Undoubtedly, majority of Malawians are in darkness of Mutharika’s leadership direction.

President Mutharika must be kindly updated that young people are not for any cheap rhetoric from Capitol Hill as has been the case. He must think beyond the Community Colleges noise, and vigorously engage and enhance meaningful dialogue and action on gainful social and economic interventions for the youth. How does the DPP administration for instance plan to meaningfully support young farmers realising that   70 percent of working-poor youth in Malawi are engaged in the agricultural sector – the country’s largest economic powerhouse? How will he increase youth access to education bearing the hard fact that public university intake in Malawi remains below 10 percent? The first citizen seems too slow to domestically ignite dialogue with country’s youth and stakeholders to collectively battle poverty, youth unemployment, poor and inaccessible education, economic exploitation and the endless woes facing youth.

President Mutharika must be ashamed that under his watch only 1 % of the total 2014/15 budget was given to Ministry of Youth and Sports for youth development programs. This defiance and insult by Mutharika’s first budget awkwardly backed by some misguided and clueless senior Ministry of Youth officials and later by parliament, tells volume about government’s interest in youth affairs. One gets a picture that youth development is not among Mutharika’s priorities.  Worse still, the youthful age of the Vice President, Saulos Chilima is yet to be translated into anything the youth can cut home. We are told he is busy fixing the Civil Service! We can only hope he will also help to fix the impotent National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) whose obsoleteness to the Malawian youth has been well institutionalised.  The Mutharika administration ought to deal with the despicable leadership incompetency and governance queries at NYCOM and gross inefficiencies at its Ministry of Youth, or stop making noise about youth development in this country.

So, besides bearing atrocious effects of a tanking economy, young people need Mutharika to provide a cut-clear strategic direction on how his DPP administration will deal with the wobbly economic governance woes whose impact on marginalised youth in urban and rural corners of Malawi is close-fisted.  Young people cannot bear same old cheap policy surprises coupled with unaccountable and irresponsive political leadership.

President Mutharika should swiftly graduate himself from the current state of leadership denial and vigilantly embark on an open, comprehensive and inclusive national dialogue process in dealing with the economic struggles of our time. He cannot wait for the worst. As an experienced jurist and leader undoubtedly he realizes the significance of inclusive engagement in times of national crisis like this. Unless Mutharika finds any virtue in cerebrating uncultured code of executive arrogance and defiance, he cannot ridicule an inclusive national dialogue on the current state of economy and its future.

As national leader, has an obligation to facilitate and build national consensus on matters of national importance.  It is not too late. After all, the current mess is well shared and not wholly of his making. So, come back from hiding Mr. President, young people are ready to walk with you in these hard times!

  • Charles Kajoloweka is a Youth Rights Activist based in Mzuzu.

 

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Peter Vogel
Guest

Thank you for the comments. Tackling youth unemployment and providing opportunities for today’s and tomorrow’s youth is of utmost importance. It is our mandate to ensure that there are sufficient avenues for our children.

dschi
Guest

U want to garner youth to riot to enhance ur thoughts to bring down this lawfully elected govt. Sizitheka. This is his style. Get used man.

maonga Village
Guest

Malawi need the missouri style of riot and demand this goat to resign or impeach him

Br Mfumu
Guest

Utsogoleri Wabwino Umakondedwa Ndi God But This One Mmmm! Sorry Chauta Sakukondwa Ndiye Tivutikadi Muzambiri Mpaka Atadzachoka Cos Isn’t Aleader Bt A Lawyer Siziribwino

Ngoma
Guest
By the way, the budget was passed by Parliament, why do you only blame APM and not the whole National Assembly. Thats where we miss the point. The other thing is you are talking about yoyuth issues, a gender activist will come and talk about women issues, an environmental activist will come and talk about the environment, health activists will come and tlak about health, education activists will come and talk about education, economists will come and lobby for industry, tourism and trade, FUM and CISANET will come and talk about agriculture. If you were the finance minister who do… Read more »
Ngoma
Guest
Mr. Kajoloweka, it is wrong to think that becoz 1% of the budget went to Ministry of Youth then Government doesnt care about the youth. Tell me who benefits from the following Ministries’ budget: Ministry of Education, Science and Tec, isnt it the youth? Teveta, isnt it the youth? The community colleges that will be established? Isnt it the youth? Even health issues? Do you know that youth matters are cross-cutting and therefore you can not only point at allocation to the Ministry of Youth. The same applies to women affairs. You can say Govt doesnt care about women by… Read more »
Chigawenga
Guest

The only hope in hell the youth of this country have is to riot. To take to the streets and show this inept greedy corrupt leader that we have had enough. He needs to go and the only way he can go is for us to take to the streets. We need black spring in Malawi. DPP administration has failed not only the youth but also the working poor and of course the poor masses. One would have hoped the army would step in but APM already bought them out they are equally corrupt. Thus we are stuck .

Tozer Tsono
Guest
To the twins, PP and DPP Clueless Both DPP and PP have presided over massive looting of government funds, requiring forensic audits by foreign companies. They have both made the office of the Auditor General in Malawi worthless. Why pay auditors in Malawi, if we can not trust them or even listen to what they recommend? If we need the Auditor Generals office, it ought to report to the PAC, ACB, and media. Independence is required not just for the Reserve Bank of Malawi but the Auditor General’s Office. They should both have 3 Independent offices in the country, one… Read more »
MWENECHO
Guest

Nice Piece . Very clear message. Everyone is getting frustrated . I agree, the leadership is asleep. APM must embark on a national dialogue on the economy. He and DPP alone can resolve this

Chembwiye
Guest

Nyasatimes,keep posting such commentaries that give us an insight of what our universities are producing these days!!

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