Malawi will on 20th May 2014, 20 days from today vote in the first ever Tripartite Elections that will see the coming to power of a president, members of parliament and local councillors. The election is an opportunity where candidates that have clear strategies on youth development and women empowerment can be elected.
The electorate are strongly urged to assess the aspiring candidates on issues they are promising to address once elected into power. The fate of the majority of candidates lies in the hands of the youth who comprise a majority of registered voters. If the youth are going to use their vote wisely, Malawi will elect leaders that will address challenges young people face in their daily lives.
The youth in this country are facing a number of challenges that include; limited employment opportunities, limited participation in governance, HIV/ AIDS and lack of access to Sexual Reproductive Health services, limited access to institutions of higher learning, limited access to vocational centres and politicized youth credit and loan schemes. The last three regimes since 1994 have not addressed these issues comprehensively thereby leaving out a lot to be desired.
The 2014 Tripartite Elections create another rare opportunity for young people to actively participate and elect governors that have proved to be ready to take up the mantle and address the challenges that young people are facing. Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) has been conducting voter and civic education to empower the electorate to vote for candidates that are committed to address the critical issues affecting the youth. The organisation has conducted a number of civic and voter education campaigns through a project that is ensuring that the forth coming 2014 Tripartite Elections are based on issues as opposed to handing out of materials and money. The project is being supported by National Democratic Institute with funding from DFID.
For the youth to benefit from the forth coming May 20 Tripartite Elections, they themselves are supposed to vote wisely. They are supposed to elect leaders that have clear strategies that will address their challenges. The onus to benefit from the elections entirely rests in the hands of all the eligible young voters.