10 January 2018

Malawi: Nsanje Senior Chiefs Drum Up Support for Youthful MPs in 2019

Nsanje Senior Chiefs are drumming up support for more youthful parliamentary aspirants in the 2019 tripartite elections.

The Nsanje's two Senior Chiefs, Malemia and Tengani in separate interviews said the district needed young people to take up challenging positions such as that of Member of Parliament as they are crucial for the district's development.

The senior chiefs were reacting to a proposal that was brought to them by a local Non Governmental Organisation called Foundation for Civic Education and Social Empowerment (FOCESE) that is advocating for more youth participation in the 2019 tripartite elections.

Senior Chief Malemia noted that it was high time Nsanje rose up to the occasion to achieve the 30 percent youth participation in decision making positions such as that of parliament.

"As a Senior Chief, I am in support of the idea brought by FOCESE under Advocate for affirmative action (youth participation charter) for quota representation of young people below age 30 in decision-making positions. As traditional leaders, we want a new broom as the new broom does it better. Therefore, come 2019 tripartite elections, the youth should be supported and ensure that they represent us in parliament," explained Senior Chief Malemia.

He however, asked the youths that while the traditional leaders want them to be elected as Members of Parliament next year, education should be a priority.

"We want to elect young people who are educated so that they bring positive change to the district. Youth are not future leaders but rather today's leaders hence supporting them in the forthcoming elections. However, we need those that are educated so that they also act as role models to their colleagues.

"The future lies in the hands of the youth. Therefore, this is the right time for them to take up the positions for continuity," said the long serving Senior Chief in the district.

Senior Chief Tengani on his part, said time had come for the youth to be supported so that they take up the challenge like that of being Member of Parliament but also councillorship.

The senior chief gave an example of the youths who have done better at adulthood in the country after they were incorporated in political positions at a tender age.

"I am going for the idea to support the youth. This is the right time for them to take up the positions provided that they are responsible. The youth represent the future, and if they are empowered today in such political positions, then the future will be bright. I can give a good example of Aleke Banda, Bakili Muluzi, Gwanda Chakwamba just to mention but a few, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda incorporated them into political positions when they were young and they did a good job for the rest of their political life.

"Therefore, we need to support the youth in the district for the betterment of development but also the future. All the youth who are capable and responsible will be encouraged and be supported," explained Senior Chief Tengani.

FOCESE Executive Director, Christie Banda said the presence of young people in political positions could change attitudes, eroding stereotypes about readiness or fitness to lead, while also encouraging young people to see politics as an arena open for their participation.

Banda said through Youth Inclusion, Participation and Empowerment (YIPE) with funding from Dan Church Aid, they aim at developing youth skills and motivation so that they can be successfully engaged in political parties.

"The interventions we are doing through the DanChurchAid funding have built capacity and confidence of the youth. The youth have now started demanding their rights from duty bearers. The youth have managed to summon duty bearers three times now in the last four months in an effort to track and monitor developmental processes which was not the case in the past," explained Banda.

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