Malawi’s leading daily newspaper, The Nation, has backed civil society organisations (CSO) for querying the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)- led government for targeting the youth on an appeasement drive belatedly, just to win votes of in next year’s elections.
In outlining the 2018/19 National Budget framework in Parliament on Friday, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said 10 000 youth, among others, will be recruited for national tree planting and care programme projected at K5 billion.
The country’s fiscal chief said the youth will be working in groups within their areas and get support along the model of the public works programme.
But Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka wondered why DPP is engaging the youth now by dangling employment to them, fearing efforts will not be sustainable after the polls.
And Gift Trapence the executive director of the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), also said the youth focused financial plan for 2018/19 is a campaign tool seeking the youth’s votes and that it is “a short-lived mechanism aimed only at increasing political mileage before the elections.”
In its editorial comment on Monday, The Nation newspaper said the reactions from some CSOs were not surprising, saying youth empowerment should be sustainable.
The paper noted that being an election budget with barely a year to 2019 Tripartite Elections, the proposed youth empowerment scheme “smells political”, saying no wonder CSOs see the gesture as cosmetic and not sustainable after the elections.
The said youth recruitment plan is also coming against a background of several qualified youth, including medical doctors, teachers and others, struggling to get employed with the Minister of Finance at one time telling Parliament that government was not an automatic employer for teachers or medical personnel trained in its institutions, the paper observed
“For a long time, practical initiatives to meaningfully empower the youth have lacked in the country. Worse still, most of the initiatives have been political and not sustainable. These include Youth Development Fund which was initially meant to provide capital to youth regardless of political affiliation but was later abused when it was restricted to those belonging to political party in power at the time,” reads the editorial in part.
It said youth need to be empowered through quality education and creation of opportunities for them to exploit their full potential.
The paper said the youth should not only be used as “political pawns.”
The should be part of the decision -making process.
In conclusion the paper’s editorial said the timing of the youth job creation is “suspects” and that the Malawian youth have all the reasons to be suspicious.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi has since dismissed that the youth employment initiatives are cosmetic, saying there is a five-year- master plan for the job creation.
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