Finance minister Goodall Gondwe, who is also the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice president has refused to apologise over his remarks that the youth are babies and lack experience to govern this country.
Network for Youth Development executive director Gift Numeri said Gondwe’s remarks were an insult to the majority youth therefore he needed to make a frantic apology to the youth.
President of Malawi Law Society Mwiza Nkhata said the law provides 35 as the minimum age for anyone to be the President of Malawi.
“Section 80 of the country’s Constitution provides for 35 years so anyone, whether Chilima or anyone who is over 35, can be the President otherwise the rest are party issues,” he said
However, Gondwe said he did not insult the youth of the country, saying what he did was to quote former president Kamuzu Banda.
“What should I apologise for? I was just quoting Kamuzu Banda, that is all,” said Gondwe.
Gondwe, who will clock 82 this year, made the remarks during the opening of a meeting of senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials at Katoto Secondary School Hall in Mzuzu on Wednesday
His remark comes amid a heated debate ignited by former First Lady Callista Mutharika That President Mutharika, at 79, would be too old to carry on as President as he would be 84 years old at the time of leaving office in 2024, if re-elected next year.
Callista has suggested that Vice-President Saulos Chilima was better placed to lead the DPP in the 2019 elections, a call that has caused huge political whirlwind in the ruling elite and its supporters and has potential to divide the party.
Numeri said if the DPP aged officials are arrogant, the youth should come out in large numbers in the 2019 election and vote for their fellow youths.
“The youths should stand up and vote for their fellow youths,” said Numeri.
Youth and Society executive director Charles Kajoloweka said Gondwe’s remarks contradict what President Mutharika has been preaching about on youth empowerment.
“Goodall has served his country for a long time. We don’t want our leaders to be wheel-chaired in offices when there are competent young people around to take over. DPP should not forget that the majority of voters in the country are young people,” Kajoloweka said.
Kajoloweka said Gondwe’s slur “seems to be an expression of a frustrated old man who does not want to leave the stage and would want to stick to it by providing such a justification.”
He said: “If you get such sentiments from senior leaders like him, you begin to think that that is the language within the party. Such sentiments stand against youth empowerment, encourage discrimination against young people and should not find space in our democratic society.”
On social media platforms, most of the youths have castigated the DPP top notch, most of whom are aged or ageing, for holding a news conference to prop up Mutharika as the DPP torch bearer for the 2019 elections.
At least 73 per cent of the people in Malawi are aged between 17 and 30.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :