An Open Letter to Young Politicians

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Dear Young Politicians,

What great awe it is that you have decided to join the exciting world of politics and have instantly become motivators for other youths to have the hunger in getting into leadership roles that can help change nations. This is mostly exciting for all the young people in Malawi that will be contesting in this year’s tripartite elections slated for the 21st of May.

The Malawian political environment has for long been ruled by men with grey hair which has led to a lot of youth-related issues to be suppressed. It gives me hope that for once, we can have a government that will be keen and prompt in addressing youth issues, which can allow development in the country.

However, as much as it is great and exciting to see so much enthusiasm, I have noted a few flaws through social media that are done. Hence, I felt obliged to open up about them, so that we can move together. Please note, this should be taken as constructive criticism and not as a way to down value your ideas.

  • Advocate for Peace in your communities. The past week has proven how violent the forthcoming elections will be, with cadets from different parties inflicting the said violence on each other. Being a peace ambassador myself, it pains me to see young people in the fore front of conflict and violence. I urge you, during the time you actively engage with your communities, please pass messages of peace, acknowledge your followers on the evil that violence brings. Their lives are valued, and be the first to show them.
  • Encourage questions, be a listener to your community. You are seeking for a chance to be a decision-maker, not just for your house or family, but for the whole country. For so long, since colonization, Kamuzu, Muluzi, Bingu etc, people have been punished heavily for seeking answers to the actions that our leaders do. Refrain from such a systematic thinking. You are currently dealing with a generations that often times seeks for clarity on the actions being taken. Be wise, use the questions as a way to construct development plans. In most of the questions asked, there is an underlying idea that is there waiting for one to crucially dig and be solved. Never downplay them. Be open to the questions, answer them whole-heartedly, you will win many hearts.
  • Refrain from the financial power, rather aim for social power. Probably makes no sense, I know. But what I aim to get across is to refrain from using the power that your current financial status to influence your communities. You are dealing with people that have seen different politicians come with a pool of money during campaign season, then retrieve it from the development funds allocated in their constituency as their own payback method. Using the same idea gives those you aim to win hearts from to stereotype you and hence, could be your own downfall. You should instead aim for genuine social power, engage your constituency members openly, not by financial manipulation, but genuinely. They need to feel your presence, they need to know you are always there. A good example is John Bande in Machinjiri, he has gained a lot of social power just by getting involved with his community more, than merely helping them financially.
  • Be CREATIVE, leave the Grandpa tactics. The grandpa tactics, where you suddenly have immerse interest at a health care, or you care about bridges, roads etc. Those bring question as to whether you cared less or until the campaign season. Be creative with how you campaign.

They are a lot of things I can list down. The other important issue you need to understand is that, do not hold so many expectations with your fellow youth. Do not expect that they will vote for you for the mere reason that you are young. Work on changing perceptions, giving them good-enough reason to want to put you in power.

Lastly, YOU ARE DOING GOOD SWEETIE!!!!

X.O

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