Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) has urged the youth in Zomba to exercise their rights by educating the electorate in their respective communities ahead of the 2014 tripartite elections to vote for visionary leadership that can transform the country.
YONECO’s Tools media networking and advocacy officer Charles Banda said the youth as agents of change needs to be proactive and hard working in sensitizing the rural masses of the challenges Malawi has experienced from the past political leaders.
He was speaking at the end of three-day training of 29 community youth and women facilitators from the district on issue-based voter education.
Said Banda: “This project seeks to mobilise citizens (electorates) with particular focus on the youth and women to register and vote in 2014 tripartite elections. Apart from that, the project will also motivate citizens and aspiring candidates to prioritise issues affecting youth, women and children through the massive awareness on civic and voter education.
“In most cases people and local leaders expect to first receive hand outs before they can support a particular candidate. Many community structures are yet to grasp the concept of voting based on issues aspiring candidates highlight to address once voted into power.
“These are community structures and influential individuals that command respect at community level. In addition, young people are also at the fore-front to demand favours, gifts and money from aspiring contestants. Some of them are even used in political propaganda that sometimes negatively affects their lives.”
He therefore added that one way of increasing awareness on the need to vote based on developmental issues aspiring candidates promise to address once voted into power is to empower community members and structures that will be tasked to spearhead the campaign.
The media networking and advocacy officer said one of the project’s overall objectives is to build the capacity of the youth and women groups to understand and analyse the formal and informal political processes with emphasis on the ward counsellor elections and the structures that control development and service delivery allocated by
Yoneco is implementing the project in Rumphi, Balaka and Zomba with support from the Development for International Aid (Dfid) through the National Democratic Institute (NDI).