UTM Party’s presidential torchbearer Saulos Chilima, who disclosed that he will also be minister responsible for the youth should he be voted into power on May 21, has appended his signature to the National Youth Manifesto to commit himself that he will address numerous challenges youths are facing in the country.
The youth movement which launched the 2019-2024 National Youth Manifesto–the first such strategic document ever in Malawi– had an audience with Chilima on Wednesday morning in Lilongwe .
Chilima was presented with the document which 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.
Putting his signature on the document, Chilima said he was committing himself and the UTM to adopt issues in the manifesto considering that most of the issues in it are also within the UTM electoral pledges.
“People have been asking what I will do for the youth. But I have also asked what it is that the youth want. I subscribe to what the Youth Manifesto is saying. So, I don’t have any choice but to endorse it,” said Chilima, who listened attentively and took down notes during the remarks when Youth Decide leader presented the documents.
“Malawi youths deserve a better future. Tsogolo labwino, lowala with UTM,” he said.
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, commended Chilima for making what he called a high-level political commitment saying it is a step ahead in trying to alleviate a number of challenges the youths are facing.
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.