Vendors in Mzuzu told in the face Minister for Youth Development and Welfare Simon Vuwa Kaunda that they have never received any loan either from the Malawi Rural Development Fund (Mardef) or the Youth Development Fund (Yedef) despite many assurances after signing countless forms.
The vendors, drawn from all markets in Mzuzu, said this through their leaders at Katoto Secondary on Sunday during a meeting called by the Ministry of Youth Development and Welfare but also attended by some DPP MPs, National Campaign Director Dr Ken Zikhale Ng’oma and First Vice President Goodall Gondwe.
Some weeks ago, the Orange Movement, a youth wing of People’s Party, petitioned the Ministry querying how public funds that were allocated for Youth Development and Empowerment in the country were being managed.
“We are aware Honorable Minister that the National Budget of 2009/2010 allocated about K2.2 Billion for Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), while the National Budget of 2010/2011, allocated about K1.7 Billion towards Youth Development and Empowerment including K800 Million allocated specifically for YEDEF,” Desk Officer, Joseph Chikwemba said in the petition.
According to DPP deputy Regional Governor for the North, Akim Mwanza, the meeting was organised as one way of discussing with vendors in the wake of incidences of stripping women that occurred last week.
Vendors’ Sectional Chairperson Anxious Kumwenda said at one time they used their own money to travel to Mpherembe in Mzimba district and other areas mobilising vendors to apply for these government sponsored micro-loans but nothing materialised.
Kumwenda got a standing ovation from over 300 vendors’ representatives and some could be heard shouting in Tumbuka “Tilije kuphokha. Vali kurya vekha. Vaphalile Nganya”.
Kumwenda spoke after Kaunda but in an interview later Gondwe said : “From the start President Mutharika has been concern about the Youths in this country. We thought Mardef would take care of them but it was not possible to satisfy all”.
Gondwe said government later came up with Yedef and Ovop to take care of the aspirations of the youths.
“But obviously were he felt the support was not enough the President has used his won money to support the youths,” he said.