Youths demand suspension of Yedef, Chikangawa Timber harvesting

Malawi’s youth have asked President Joyce Banda to immediately suspend the disbursement of funds under Youth Entrepreneurial Development Fund (Yedef) saying it has been highly politicised and only benefitted youths that belonged to former ruling party DPP.

Malawi government committed MK3 billion into the fund, which has been grossly abused since inception.

For instance, Police in the lakeshore district on Nkhata Bay arrested 16 youths for failure to service their loans but in court the youth  argued that the money was not given to them as loans but as compensation for working for the DPP.

The youths, under the banner of the Network for Youth Activists, made the call in a seven paged petition to President Banda, a copy Nyasa Timessourced.

President Banda asked to take action

“We recommend a comprehensive review of this loan scheme in order for the fund to reach the intended beneficiaries,” said the young activists.

Seven Youths Organisations namely, Evergreen Centre for Development, Mardines foundation, Mzuzu Youth networking Committee, Foundation for sustainable Social development, Centre for girls Interaction, St Johns HIV and AIDS Organisation and Mzuzu young Politicians Union, make the network.

The youths noted that Yedef is another failed project .

“We applaud government for the initiative to economically empower Malawi youths. But we also observed that those in the rural areas have been deprived of access to funds due to lack of information and other complexities of the scheme,” reads part of the letter.

Chikangawa

They also asked for the immediate suspension of Timber harvesting in the 56,000 hectare Chikangawa forest plantation in Mzimba district saying they suspect gross corruption in the management of the forest.

“Chikangawa plantation is gone is there seems to be little or no concern at all from government on how to improve the situation. We also notice that … surrounding communities are deprived of valuable benefits from the plantation,” they noted.

They also asked the government to construct a boarding school, market and a health centre arguing that the plantation has the capacity to generate enough resources for its own sustainability.

The Youths also asked government to establish a National Youth Employment Day during which Malawi will be commemorating the problem of unemployment in the country while drawing strategies and policies of addressing the problem.

“It is an undisputable fact that Malawi is one of the poorest countries with soaring unemployment levels. Most of the country’s youths are insufficiently inappropriately in the country’s economy. The economic realities are so harsh for fresh graduates from the Universities and ordinary youths.

“We ask for a bold deliberate economic restructuring which could create more jobs both in the formal and informal sectors of our country,” they said.

They also called for the appointment of Youths into the Civil service saying most appointments in the civil service exclude youths despite of their relevant and higher qualifications.

On the July 20th 2011 atrocities, the youths said they are waiting for the government’s bold action in dealing with crimes against humanity.

“We also expect government to establish a compensation committee that will look into issues of compensation for families whose people were slain by the police. As youth activists, we take a special interest because many of the victims were youths, a productive group which could have helped their families and also contributed to national development,” they said.

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