By Derrick Sinjela @ George Central Primary School in Lusaka’s Matero Constituency.
The Zambia legislative wing Parliament has 156 MPs elected and 9 nominated by the President. Out of this figure only three (3) are below 35 years representing a 1.8 per cent. This is the picture that Youth 4 Parliament is aspiring to change as Zambia approaches the Thursday 12th August 2021 Presidential Parliamentary and General elections.
The 4 primary objectives for Youth 5 Parliament first, is to advocate for Youth Representation in Parliament. Second Youth 4 Parliament is seeking to increase Young peoples participation Civic and Political affairs of Zambia. Thirdly, to increase youth representation in decision making positions and leadership. Fourthly, building capacity in young people to hold their civic and political leaders accountable and to be responsible citizens. Fifthly, to raise awareness on the need for youth leadership.
Youth for Parliament has members from young people across Zambia, with some of its members coming from Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD), Patriotic Front (PF), The Green Party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) the United Party for National Development (UPND), the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) the United National Independence Party (UNIP) and National Restoration Party (NAREP) and non partisan youths.
Youth 4 Parliament is a supported by the Programme for Young Politicians in Africa (PYPA).
A facilitator, Beauty Kabwe expressed delight at interest among a diversity of age groups as most if not all respondents during a door to door campaign chorused a need to increase youth and female participation in the governance process. “We must continue to prepare the electorate to prefer candidates under 35 years as we cannot limit young people to merely voting for adults,” explained Ms. Kabwe.
Sebastian Mwila a facilitator said the team of young people numbering 50 is determined to improve the status of Zambian youth. “We are always ready to participate in activities meant to increase youthful role in the Zambian governance process,” Mr. Mwila assured Youth for Parliament.
On her part, Youth 4 Parliament Communication Officer Isabel Chifwepa explained that though political parties had enlisted, campaign to increase youth voices at Parliament and Local Government is nonpartisan. “As we go out to sensitise our community, decorum and public etiquette is imperative. If we encounter protest, it is better to talk to another respondent,” advised Ms. Isabel Chifwepa. She emphasized on activists to Preach the Gospel of Voting for Young People on Thursday 12th August 2021 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government polls. “We are approaching 2021 and emphasis must be placed on voting for young people,” admonished Ms. Chifwepa.
The event was also replicated Livingstone by a team led by the Movement Assistant Manager Ms. Maria Malilwe who emphasized on the need for rural youths to take interest in matters affecting them, and made a commitment that the movement would conduct it’s activities in all provinces of Zambia.
The movement is scheduled to conduct similar events in Senanga, Chipata, Mansa, Solwezi and Luanshya.