Saturday, April 26, 2014

Malawi Elections: Battle For Youths
Malawi President Joyce Banda.
April 26, 2014

BLANTYRE. — The signing of a youth empowerment declaration by all presidential candidates contesting the May 20 elections in Malawi is a clear indication that the voting patterns of young people could be a deciding factor on the outcome.

The youth (aged between 15-35 years) make up about 60 percent of the Malawian population of about 14 million people.

However, the youth continue to be impacted by the high unemployment rates in the country, as well as poor educational facilities and violence against girls.

In response to these challenges, political parties contesting in the forthcoming elections have seen the need to co-opt the youth in decision-making and other developmental processes.

All of the 11 presidential candidates signed a declaration in early April that commits them to promote youth empowerment.

Leader of the People’s Transformation Party, Kamuzu Chibambo, was the first to append his signature. He was followed by other candidates such as Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), brother to the former president Bingu wa Mutharika.

Incumbent President Joyce Banda signed the declaration last, saying the promotion of youth empowerment should be the responsibility of any elected government.

“We realise that the youth are in majority, energetic, adventurous and they need support for them to actively participate in nation-building,” she said.

The declaration crafted by a number of youth organisations, including the Malawi Human Rights Youth Network, commits the leaders on various related issues.

These include better access to health and promotion of the health of children and young adults; and access to education, including provision of facilities at schools to cater for children with disabilities.


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