By Henry Mvula
‘Access to information is power,’ pointed out Barack Obama in his recent policy speech regarding the ‘wild’ wind that has of late been sweeping the Arab world. In his well-crafted speech, the US first citizen was quick to mention that this understanding enabled the youths in Tunisia and Egypt to summon their nations to rise up and demand the much-sought-for change.
Their successful onerous revolution is a wake-up signal to all the youth across the entire expanse of the globe as this cohesive upheaval depicted in strongest terms the potential of the youth that they can vehemently carry the whole of their countries on the smooth road of massive progress with their swift strides.
The youths, if accorded all the opportunity in the world, can make the country bask in the new reflected glory of prosperity. Armed with zeal and determination, they can enhance the nation’s economic, social and spiritual development with their fresh intellectual stamina.
The challenges that led the youths in the Arab world to call for popular revolutions are similar to the challenges which the youths of Malawi encounter. Our friends, for instance, were concerned with the unprecedented high levels of unemployment. To us, this is a long standing challenge since independence among the numerous challenges we encounter like mediocre education standards, orphan hood, early marriages and premature teenage pregnancies, domestic violence, defilement and the menacing HIV/AIDS scourge.
The difference, nevertheless, is that our fellow peers took a bold and unified action to address their challenges because I believe they are cognizant of their role as the driving force of the future of their respective countries. The Malawian youths, on the other hand, seem unflustered by their challenges, hence leaving the onus to run the affairs of the country to the old guards. I find the silence of the Malawian youths from taking any action against their leadership rather ridiculous, if not preposterous, because these problems are long overdue and since they have seriously been left unattended to, it goes without disputing the blunt fact that these old guards have failed us.
There are also a lot of challenges which this century has brought like the phasing out of tobacco on the market. One would appreciate that the old gurus have literally run out of clues to solve our lingering problems. I strongly believe it’s high time a dose of new blood, new energies and new thinking were injected into the veins of Malawi’s political arena—a fresh, newfangled brainwave geared at probing into the novel ways and new instruments of which to tackle such challenges facing us the young populace.
This discussion, nonetheless, is not in any way aimed at stirring up the youths to borrow a leaf from the Arab world model but rather to learn from their experience and perhaps conceive our own model to change the prevailing situation. I believe this is the time for the youths to rise up and join hands in developing the nation.
This I believe we can achieve because according to the National statistical office data, the youths in Malawi form the backbone of the population. When we correlate this data in a democratic dispensation, we observe that it’s the majority that win. So in this case, we are the majority and it’s only prudent that we rule. It is only when we have a say in this country that our challenges will be solved, and then embark on our journey to prosperity. However, the big question is: how can the youths align themselves in the leadership positions of this country?
It is my conviction that one way is by rallying behind political leaders who are flexible to empower and prioritize the welfare of the youths. Most of the political leaders tend to use the youths as morale groups or militias to harass and manhandle all the people having dissenting views. We want leaders to be flexible to accommodate the youths in different positions within or without the party.
Let political leaders encourage capable youths to take part in parliamentary and councillorship positions. This, as a matter of fact, will set forth a good platform for the youths to get the much touted experience which the old guards use as an excuse to down play youth participation in leadership positions and prove wrong the allegation that because the youths are always avid for fast change, they end up making wrong and costly decisions.
Now, this said and done, the youths themselves, like women in politics, must unite and rally behind their fellow youthful candidates in terms of support and casting votes. Again, if there are organisations out there which believe in the potential of the youths, I equally appeal to them to support the youths in cash and kind during elections.
This day and age calls for young blood with novel ideas in politics to handle the global economic crisis which is now raising its ugly face ahead of us. Despite being experienced, the old guards lack in all means of modern techniques to solve the problems we are facing. This is why we are still lagging behind as far as development is concerned. Just imagine how the old guards expect the country to develop if the majority of that country is unemployed. New blood, so to speak, armed with new ideas is the only solution to combat such challenges and take this country to genuine prosperity.
From the current crop of the youth parliamentarians, the reasonable contributions emanating from the likes of Henry Duncan Phoya, Sosten Gwengwe, and Atupele Muluzi among other youthful lawmakers sometimes show the potential that they can help in addressing the challenges we face in this century. However, since the youthful legislators are insignificant in number, their voice is almost negligible to be heard hence the call for the capable young men and women to come out of their cocoon and help in running the affairs of this country.
Added to the above mentioned visionary individuals are such innovative young men in the names of Bright Malopa of MBC TV, Gospel Kazako of Zodiak Radio, Thom Chiumia of Nyasa Times, James Nyondo of NASAF and Saulosi Chilima of rebranded Airtel, Ralph Kasambara the lawyer, Kamuzu Chibambo of Petra,just to mention but a few.
Summing up, when the youth realise the importance of joining mainstream politics, our hard-won democracy will be preserved, real economic prosperity shall be registered and we shall carry forth and safely deliver the great gift of freedom to the next generations.
* Henry, Mvula, a fourth year Land Management Student at Mzuzu University.
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