Generation Democracy Network – a flagship program of the United States (US)-based
International Republican Institute – has engaged an extra gear to reduce voter apathy among
the youths in the forthcoming tripartite elections scheduled for May 21, 2019.
The network, which aims to foster youth participation in political and civic spaces as well as promoting democracy at all levels, has over 500 youth leaders in 75 countries across the globe.

On Friday, the network held a panel discussion at the Chancellor College (Chanco) to probe issues that
demotivate young people from participating in elections.

Participants singled out corruption, vote rigging claims, lack of confidence in aspirants,
deepening levels of nepotism, lack of trust in institutions managing elections, violence and
lack of proper civic education as some of factors contributing to voter apathy among the

Nevertheless, the 5×5 Campaign Coordinator, Chimwemwe Kaonga, emphasised the need to
mobilise and motivate young people to actively participate in the forthcoming tripartite
“At least 54 percent of registered voters are young people. This is an opportunity for us to
shape the agenda of our country by voting for policies that favour us and respond to
challenges the youth of Malawi are facing,” he said.

“We must therefore not relent in our efforts that will make the youth participate in the decision
making process by casting their vote,” he added.
President for Chancellor College Political and Administrative Society, Alinafe Maseko, hailed
the initiative for taking an inclusive approach in mobilising the voters ahead of the tripartite
during elections.
Maseko challenged the youth to assume their responsibility in developing the country by
voting in the forthcoming and subsequent polls and other participatory processes.
According to Kaonga, the 5×5 Uniting Youth Campaign is the campaign centred on having the
youth identify five other peers to engage in a process, a catalytic structure to help build an
advocacy campaign.
The goal is to promote youth participation in decision making processes
And among other key objectives, the 5×5 seeks to reduce voter apathy and increase the
number of youth who vote, unite young people behind common experienced issues, reduce
incidences of violence before and after elections, enhance engagement between the youth
and duty bearers and advocate for youth friendly policies implementation.

Source: Nyasa Times, 2019

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