United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi on Thursday interacted with leaders of Youth Decide, a four-member civil society advocacy organisation, and endorsed the Youth Manifesto in Mzuzu, saying it forms part of his ‘New Beginning’ agenda.
Atupele, 40, the youngest among the seven presidential candidates in the May 21 polls, said he was convinced that the National Youth Manifesto, which is a 14-point strategic plan in which the youth are making demands on pro-youth development plans to be prioritised by whoever becomes president after the forthcoming poll, is part of his fibre agenda to transform Malawi.
He said the elections will provide the country an opportunity to drive, deepen and embed inclusive reforms and transformation across the country and that the youth agenda is the backbone of that transformation.
“As I endorse and append my signature to the Youth Manifesto, I want to assure you that in Atupele Muluzi, you have one of you,” he said.
“I am committed to demonstrating leadership by action not rhetoric,” he said.
He then promised that he will donate five million cellphones and laptops to five million families for free in a space of five years.
Youth Decide team leader Charles Kajoloweka said Malawi youths are facing many challenges, ranging from unemployment to lack of economic empowerment.
He said young people do not have access to higher education because of the quota system.
“We want things to change,” he said.
UDF presidential candidate said he will abolish quota system when elected to power.
Atupele said he will ensure that every voice, most especially the youth, is heard through feedback mechanism.
“We will only be able to deliver the change and transformation we want if all Malawian voices are heard and listened to. Inclusion is at the heart of any real and sustainable development,” he said.
Atupele said the UDF will stay on course with the two key pillars of inclusive growth and good governance.
“We have the right leadership: that understands its responsibility, is accountable and will continue to embody values of transparency in how it governs,” he stressed.
According to Kajoloweka, the Youth Manifesto will also be a yardstick for measuring performance of the next government on the promises made on youths.
Kajoloweka said they are meeting the presidential candidates in order of response to the organisation’s open invitation that was extended to all soon after the manifesto launch in Lilongwe on April 10. He added that some candidates are yet to respond to the Youth Decide request for their endorsements.
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