Youth Decide Campaign—a consortium of at least five youth led organizations which advanced a national youth manifesto ahead of 2019 and 2020 presidential elections—has mobilized over 150 young people to a national youth conference, where they are expected to interrogate the state of governance and youth development in Malawi.
The youth conference will take place from 21 to 22 September at Bingu International Convention Centre, with ministers of finance, labour, education, youth and other key duty bearers in attendance in order to respond to queries bordering on the implementation of the youth manifesto, among other campaign commitments.
Youth Decide Campaign Team Leader, Charles Kajoloweka, told journalists in Lilongwe that young people will also be interrogating on the current high cost of living, economic inequalities, worsening poverty, youth unemployment, shrinking of the civic space and other freedoms.
Kajoloweka, who is also the Executive Director for Youth and Society, added the youth conference is the one which will determine whether or not authorities are doing anything tangible to address these issues, for a communique will be issued at the end of the two-day conference and presented to the President, Speaker and Chief Justice for action.
“This is a solution focused conference, looking more especially at the state of the economy. There are issues of serious concern, negatively impacting on the youths and the general population.
We expect key stakeholders to be solution focused because at the end of the day, we will come up with policy proposals that the government should act on. We want the Tonse Administration to account for its performance, for it made a lot of commitments through its manifesto.
It is high time we intensified the demand for accountability on campaign commitments, more especially on matters affecting the youths. So, at the conference, we expect participants to have an open mind in order to create space for a robust and constructive dialogue on the state of governance and youth development,” Kajoloweka said.
Chairperson for the organizing committee, Mwandida Theu, said everything is indeed set for the youth conference. She said there will be, among others, presentations to be made by the four cabinet ministers and other experts, which will then be interrogated by discussants and other participants.
According to Theu, other stakeholders invited to the conference include: development partners, academia, private sector, regional and international bodies that “will take stock of the ground breaking gains, opportunities and challenges faced by young people in Malawi”.
Other members of the Youth Decide Campaign include, among others: Young Politicians Union, Network for Youth Development and Youth Net and Counselling.