To many, when death of parents strikes at tender age, it signals an abrupt disruption of a child’s future. Some children lose direction with others indulging in immoralities.
But for 21-year-old Manson Waya, the story is different, death robbed him of his parents at the age of four in 2001, but today, he is the youngest ward councillor in the northern region.
“I was hugely affected emotionally, as a kid. But as I was growing, I was made to understand that my parents were gone and I had to move on with life and pursue my dreams.
“As I grew up, I maintained my focus to be well behaved and worked hard. I told myself not to be disturbed or disrupted by situations around me,” Waya says.
With such determination in mind, Waya never lost hope even after a poor performance in Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE).
“One thing I always keep in mind is that in life, not all people can do well in education; we have different gifts. This spirit kept me going after I did not do well in my MSCE,” he says.
After failing the MSCE, Manson, as he is popularly known in his community, started to harbour political ambitions to prove that he could do well in other spheres of life.
This idea was propelled by tough social economic life that was prevalent in his slum location of Masasa in Mzuzu where he went to stay with his maternal guardians.
“The situation in Masasa is very pathetic. Many youths have nothing to do and as a result they indulge in immoral activities.
“This is despite the fact that we had political leaders that were chosen to help initiate development projects, but instead, they abandoned the people who chose them,” Waya says.
He says he decided to try his luck into politics just to bridge the gap between leaders and electorates and to help fellow youth engage in productive life.
Despite stemming from one of Malawi’s hugely successful sporting family both in netball and football, Manson chose a political route.
“My uncle late Harry Waya and my Aunt Mary Waya had successful football and netball careers, respectively. But I decided to take a very different route of contributing to the nation’s development through politics.
“At first, many people including my family did not believe me when I introduced the idea for me to venture into politics. There was stiff resistance from my family but I maintained my stand,” he says.
Waya disclosed that he managed to convince his family after he laid out clearly why he decided to join politics which many regard as a dirty game.
A close family relation, who does not want to be identified, says as a family, they first did not like the idea because of conflict associated with politics.
“At first, we did not support his idea to start politics because we felt he was too young for politics.
“When he told us about it, he was around 19 or 20 years old which, to us, was not good for him,” he says.
He, however, says because of his (Manson) persistent call to join politics, the family agreed to let him do what his heart desires.
Manson says despite resistance from family, the overwhelming response he got from the community mesmerised him.
“The reaction from my community was overwhelming as people supported my call to contest for councillorship.
“I have grown to respect people of all ages. Whenever I see people in my community, it falls on me to give respect to them. This helped me to win the community’s trust,” he says.
Manson explains that he also won community trust because he was realistic on his campaign pledges.
“In politics, one has to promise attainable things. The moment one decides to lie to the community, it leads to trouble as people don’t want to be fooled by unrealistic political pledges,” he says.
Senior Block leader for Masasa Ackim Phiri says as a community, they positively reacted to Waya’s call into politics after being convinced that his ideas were realistic compared to others.
“As a community, we want political leaders who give promises that we know are doable. We no longer vote for leaders that take the electorate for granted by pledging things that cannot be fulfilled.
“Manson was very realistic on the things he would help initiate while at the same time telling us the things that he would not do but require community unison,” Phiri says.
The “dirt” in politics
The youthful councillor says upon joining politics, he had in mind the likely stuff he was going to face.
“I expected the political bickering as well as back-biting but I remained focused since I decided to come in just to change this,” he says.
Manson says during the campaign trail, he struggled to outwit many established politicians who used their money to entice voters to vote for them.
“It was tough to compete with established politicians who had all the monetary resources to woo supporters to vote for them.
“However, I managed to parry off the pressure because of his firm stand on strict belief to tell people only things I would manage to do,” he says.
Many politicians start to harbour higher ambitions whenever they attain some political positions.
It is usual to see many councillors harbour ambitions to stand for parliamentary seat after achieving their feat in the councillorship.
However, for Manson, he is contented with the role he has as a councillor and does not have any ambitions to up his political career.
“I have no ambitions to contest for a parliamentary seat in future. I believe that I can serve my community better as a councillor,” he says.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :