Center for Governance and Leadership (CEGOL)’s Executive Director, Chimwemwe Kaonga says promoting youth participation in politics is not just an issue of sounding politically correct but an issue of human rights and safeguarding the future. He was speaking during the Africa’s Regional Conference on promoting Youth Political Participation and Civic Engagement at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre.

Said Kaonga, “the youth must bear the primary understanding that their participation in politics is a right that is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi. As we approach 2025, the youth must take a deep introspection as regards to their participation in politics and make bold decisions to run for public offices.” Kaonga also challenged and reminded the youth of their noble responsibility to safeguard the future of Malawi by making sure that they participate in spaces that matter when it comes to decision making. “While we commend young people who are already active in politics, let us also be reminded that there is always room for improvement. In the last election, out of 193 parliamentary seats, only 9 seats representing 4.66% went to the youth. Similarly, out of 462 Wards in the local council elections, only 52 of those Wards were scooped by young people, representing 11.7%. These glaring statistics are a wake up call that the youth need to get organized and do better in 2025,” remarked Kaonga.

Turning to policy engagement, Kaonga reminded the delegates to the conference that it is not enough just to participate in policy formulation but rather pursue accountability frameworks that will help monitor and hold the government accountable towards effective implementation of policies. He urged the youth to harness the power of technology towards their meaningful involvement in policy processes.

The conference which was organized by Bright Minds of Today (BMTO) in partnership with the International Republican Institute (IRI) through the Generation Democracy Program drew participants from various countries including Malawi, Kenya, Gambia and United States of America.

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