Lilongwe — Malawi on August 10 joined African member states in commemorating the African Day of Decentralisation and Local Development with a call for youth participation and inclusion in local governance issues to facilitate development.
Representing Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa at a ceremony marking the day at Nambuma Trading Centre in Dowa district on Saturday, the ministry's Principal Secretary, Kiswell Dakamau observed that given a chance, young people have what it takes to accelerate development.
"On the basis of equal opportunity and gender equity, they must be elected as local representatives to enable local governments take decisions that reflect the needs of young people," he said.
According to Dakamau, government is committed to promoting youth involvement in the new local government system as they represent the future of the country and have the energy to participate in various development programmes.
"There is currently tremendous progress in as far as involving young people at local council level is concerned. We have youth representation at local council level and as government, we are seriously thinking on how best we can incorporate them," said Dakamau.
Young Politicians Union President, Clement Makuwa appealed to young people to play an active role in various local government structures for them to be able to participate in making decisions to do with local governance in their respective areas.
"It is unfortunate that most young people do not want to participate in local government structures such as Village and Area Development Committees, there is need for mindset change," he said.
Youth Parliamentarian for Dowa West Gibson Kasalika asked for at least 30 percent inclusion of young people in local government structures.
The country adopted the decentralization policy in 1998 to ensure quality service delivery and effectively promote socio economic development in local communities.
Malawi has this year commemorated the African Day of Decentralisation and Local Government which was held under the theme "Equal opportunities, socio economic empowerment and youth participation in local governance and local development in Africa".