Give Malawi youth a chance

Much as we enjoy and exercise our constitutional rights, we all have a duty to build our country. The call for a strike by Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito needs to be scrutinised for what exactly it is.

The organisers need to listen to calls of the youth to give our young government a chance. With the July 20 2011 massacres fresh in our minds, it is understandable that the youth (from Zomba) have decided not to patronise the demonstrations. And rightly so; for it is the youth (not the Cama boss) who will suffer should anything happen during the demonstrations. It is the same jobless and hungry youths that will be tempted to loot shops. The already fragile economy will further deteriorate regardless of the cheap publicity that the organisers are after.

It is sad but greatly encouraging to learn that our youths have begun to assume their roles and reason like true leaders. They have not only shunned the call to frustrate government’s efforts to lift our country from the economic doldrums, but they have also taught the organisers a free fundamental leadership lesson: Dialogue should be the route to follow on this matter.

The youth must not be taken for granted. Let those who have a voice please air their disapproval in the correct manner. Remember, we need results and we cannot achieve that through demonstrations.



Surely, dissenting views are good for democracy. But leaders should not just criticise without any substance. Remember your credentials today will inform your candidacy in government tomorrow.

To criticise without solutions is destructive. Offering unattainable alternatives is equally catastrophic. Yes, our economic woes are real. But we need to understand the global community dynamics. Can Malawi afford to go it alone or do we need assistance? We need to learn to work together for a common purpose.

Now instead of worsening the economic situation further, let us be in the forefront helping government strengthen democracy, openness, stability and development. As champions of the people, leaders need to come up with solutions. Be practical. Malawi is not an island. Don’t fool people that Malawi can stand on her own without international help. Don’t be a hypocrite to the very people you claim to stand for.

No matter how young we are, we can make a contribution to the development of our country, but that will not be through running in the streets, having battles with the security forces.

Africa is a fundamental part of today’s inter-connected world. Malawi is part of Africa and when it comes to defining challenges of our youth, creating jobs, promoting democracy and development, the world is looking to our leaders. As such, we cannot afford to isolate Malawi from the rest of the world.

The current social, political and economical problems are of our own making. To make things work in the country, we need collective responsibility—government, the clergy, civil society, opposition parties, trade unions, and so on, must work together to bring about the needed change. Government cannot cross this bridge alone.

Therefore, I urge Kapito to adopt a different approach to addressing the country’s challenges. Be a contributor to success so that our country moves forward economically. Let the youth find refuge in your development ideas.

Perhaps you can start that process by calling for a meeting where people of goodwill can discuss the challenges Malawi is facing now and how we can move forward.–The author likes to comment on social issues

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