Youth voices will be loud in 2019

The term nation building or national development is usually used to refer to a constructive process of engaging all citizens in building social cohesion, economic prosperity and political stability in a nation in an inclusive and democratic way.

Going by the definition, it is seen that all citizens are to be involved in building or developing a nation. Thus, the involvement of youth in national development is a must. In fact, youths play one of the most important roles in nation building.

Youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but also the partners of today. Young people are social actors of change and progress. They are a crucial segment of a nation’s development. Their contribution, therefore, is highly needed.

Young  people always been the key to any of the activities in the world be it war, politics, construction works; you name it and youth have, are and will have been involved, there are no two ways about it.

The hunger, desire, motivation, determination and high energy of the youth can make all the difference in either destroying or building a nation. Proper guidance and direction can bring the youth in forefront of national development.

The young have passions, dreams and hopes. They have bubbling enthusiasm which has to be regulated and used in  the right way. This can surely ensure rapid national development. After all, all the people can only exercise their full potential when they are young and energetic. Youth is that period in which revolutionary thoughts spring to mind and these thoughts shape the world we live in. Bill Gates—the founder of Microsoft—is a living example. He had a revolutionary thought and he exercised thought and look, how he has changed the world today.

There are a lot of revolutionary youths here in Malawi. But their dreams are being nipped in bud due to poverty and lack of investment.

We on the streets are glad that at long last our dear leader acknowledged this fact. APM on Wednesday admitted the need to double investment in young people in this country who make up 50 percent of the population.

Speaking at the opening of Madonna-funded Mercy James Centre for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care unit at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, the President said: “Half of the [17 million] population of Malawi is children, a majority of whom are below 15 years old, that is why we need to investment more in children.”

But why, for the better part of his term, children and youths have been largely ignored? Why are youth development policies focused on community colleges and not improving the education system? Why is the DPP so obsessed with construction of community colleges when our public universities are in poor state; students sit on the floors while learning and  sleeping in townships because there is very little bed space available on campus and survive of roadside snacks because they can’t afford food at college cafeteria?

Word on the street is that, if it’s not to share government resources through award of contracts, then what else?

Youths in this country are going through so much pain. Those that are parentless are going through hell. The economy is in bad shape. Unemployment is too high. Crime, alcohol and drug abuse is rising.

On the street, youths are crying out loud: they have no place to call home, no jobs, no food. To survive they have to hustle, a loose term that means get involved in clandestine activities to eke a living.

It seems their voices are not being heard. What does the future hold for them when our leaders all they know is plunder?

At 53, Malawi and all its citizens who are 53 and above should be ashamed of what they have done to this nation. At 53, Malawi remains one of he poorest country in the world. We are a nation burdened by debts that our children will pay on our behalf.

Word on the street is that, our youths are tired of top-down and centralised attempts to address their concerns. They are angry at various campaigns that are set up in the name of young people, yet only enrich the elite. They are bitter with the NGO and charity sector which is cashing in on the youth agenda.

But time is up for you all, because in 2019, most of the youths will have hit the voting age, and their vote will count.

So if you indeed care about the youth voice—it doesn’t matter how much money you throw into the budget—what matters is how genuine and honest you are with your intentions to support the them.

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