Malawi: DPP aspirant pledges support for youths

By Martha Chikoti

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) aspirant for Lilongwe City South West has pledged to support women and youths once elected as a Member of Parliament for the constituency.

The aspirant, Scholastica Chidyaonga, said this at a rally on Sunday held at Sese Ground in the constituency.

She said she wants to change the lives of women by introducing small scale businesses so that they can be independent.

“I know that that our children here walk a long distance to go to school due to shortage of schools and this will be my first thing to bring once elected and not forgetting a Health Centre to curb the problems of inadequate of health facilities,”

Chidyaonga explained.She then urged people who gathered at the place to elect her as legislator and DPP leader Peter Mutharika as president so that the party should continue developing this country.

On Saturday, the party also conducted a rally at Chinsapo at Chisomo Ground aimed at encouraging people to vote for the party come May 21.

Speaking at the occasion, Lilongwe City West aspirant Aggrey Masi said that under the leadership of Democratic Progressive Party he has managed to bring developmental projects such as electricity, tarmac roads and concrete bridges and urged people to re-elect him.

Source Malawi24

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South Africa: Will the youth turn up to vote? Let’s not be over-optimistic

By GUGU NONJINGE

In less than two months South Africa will be holding its fifth democratic elections and political parties have hit the ground running with campaigns, hoping to strengthen their voter base.

As generational replacement occurs and younger potential voters enter the system in growing numbers, political parties will ramp up their charm offensives to woo this demographic in the run up to the country’s 5th general elections on May, the 8th.

As the 2019 general elections approach, it is no surprise that the political engagement of the youth has come into emphasis amongst political parties and the media.

Regardless of how they will vote, it is critical for the country’s democratic wellbeing that they become part of the voting public. Young people make up a substantial proportion of the voting age population, which means that their vote can potentially shape the society within they pursue their aspirations.

In light of this, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) last year embarked on an extensive campaign to stimulate democratic political participation amongst young people, by launching a digital communication and education campaign which utilises the catch phrase “Xsê” – a play on the Afrikaans phrase “ek sê” meaning “I say”. This campaign primarily served as a vehicle to encourage young people to register and vote in the upcoming general elections.

The campaign seems to have been successful. According to the IEC, over 81% of the new registrations recorded at the final registration weekend in January were under the age of 30. To encourage further voter registration amongst youth, the IEC intensified its registration drives at university campuses and other higher learning institutions.

Although the Commission can be satisfied with the overall registration level, recent research cautions against over optimism about the actual turnout of young people on election day.

Findings from the latest Afrobarometer Survey for South Africa, which was conducted in 2018, show that more than half (53%) of South Africans say they do not feel close to any political party. The comparable figure for the previous round of the survey, which was conducted in 2015, was 23%. When disaggregated by age, the data for the 2018 survey further shows that more than half (59%) of these respondents are below the age of 35.

Youth turnout is not guaranteed and should not be gauged from mere registration numbers. As political parties proceed with launching their manifestos, they must be prepared to innovate in their attempts to address key youth concerns. One such key concern, is the question of skyrocketing youth unemployment. Those who fail to present convincing solutions to this scourge, will also fail to attract the attention of this key demographic.

Other equally pressing issues that affect them include, the state of the country’s public education system, poor delivery of basic services, and crumbling or non-existent infrastructure.

Their turnout at the polls on the 8th of May, should, however, not be seen as a gauge of their interest or apathy.

Most young South Africans acknowledge the importance of voting as a means to bring about the change they want to see. However, they also seek to be made part of the solution. As a country we need to reach common ground with an agreement that any discussions about the future of South Africa needs to include its largest population segment.

This involves their inclusion in leadership positions in areas that directly affect them. Fostering youth leadership primarily requires creating a space for the youth to live up to their full potential and this is what political parties and government should now set out to accomplish leading up to the elections. Failing to draw on this important constituency, will come at the price of prosperity and advancement of the country.

* Gugu Nonjinge is a Project Leader at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

Source Voices360

Nigerian Democracy’s Uncertain Future

By Udo Jude Ilo

Last month, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, a 76-year-old former military general, won his second term in an election marred by low voter turnout, legal controversy, and violence—which left at least 50 people dead. The outcome of the process was not merely a travesty for Nigeria; it was a warning sign to advocates of democracy and open society everywhere.

Just hours before polls were scheduled to open, the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission postponed the vote by a week. By then, thousands of registered voters had made long journeys to their home districts to cast their ballots and literally could not afford to wait idle for another week. Threats of violence by Islamist extremists, logistical breakdowns, and deliberate intimidation of voters played a role in the low turnout of voters across the country. Worrying cases of intimidation of officials of the election management body added to a pattern of orchestrated attempts at undermining key democracy institutions.

When Muhammadu Buhari won his first election in 2015, he became Nigeria’s first political leader to succeed an incumbent via the ballot box. This was a milestone for multiparty democracy in Africa. The recent election, on the other hand, represents a setback for Nigeria—and for Africa as a whole. Indeed, there is reason to fear that if the decline in standards is not urgently addressed, it could be the beginning of a progressive decline in the quality of elections throughout the region.

In the face of these challenges, civil society groups throughout the country still worked diligently on behalf of Nigerian democracy, partnering with institutions focused on the nuts and bolts of the electoral process. They also developed a so-called threshold document to outline a set of conditions that electoral institutions, political parties, and security agencies must fulfill to give credibility to the electoral process. Despite these laudable efforts, however, there is no denying that, by the standards of an open society, the election was a failure.

What lessons can civil society groups, in Nigeria and beyond, draw from this experience? How can civil society organizations broaden their constituencies and bring leaders from business, labor, and organized religion into campaigns for credible elections? With more than one-third of the world’s population set to vote in elections this year, these are not abstract questions.

First, there must be a comprehensive audit and review of what happened in the 2019 elections. This process must be independent and driven by the Nigerian people (in close collaboration with international experts). It is imperative to identify what went wrong with the electoral process and to examine the influences in Nigerian political society that makes electoral malpractices acceptable.

Second, Nigeria’s government should establish an electoral offenses commission which is empowered to hold accountable those that committed offences during the election process. To be sure, given the government’s obvious interest in avoiding scrutiny, the international community should join with those in Nigeria who are calling for such a commission. The international community should consider sanctioning individuals guilty of inciting electoral violence, as well as applying political pressure to the Nigerian government if it continues to reject accountability.

Along the same lines, and because no real democracy can exist without the rule of law, domestic and international pro-democracy groups should closely monitor President Buhari’s policies with regard to Nigeria’s judicial system, which many observers fear is being compromised by those who want to shield the election results from scrutiny.

Finally, civil society groups in Nigeria must resist the temptation to retreat into apathy and cynicism. We must not forget that serious and systemic change is a long-term process, and that the fruits of today’s efforts may take years to fully ripen. Initiatives focused on bringing more Nigerians—especially young Nigerians—into the political process should be encouraged. The Not Too Young to Run campaign, for example, which was launched by a coalition of youth organizations and successfully lowered Nigeria’s age limit for seeking office, is a crucial investment in changing the dynamic between Nigeria’s citizens and those elected to serve them.

Civil society must work to ensure close collaboration amongst its ranks and consistency in its values. This will help it sustain the respect and trust of the citizens, and it will make mobilization easier in the future. While international organizations and domestic civil society groups have an enormous role to play, ultimately, the country’s political landscape can only be reconfigured by a popular movement of Nigerian voters demanding reform. That is the promise of democracy—in Nigeria, and around the world.

Source Open Society Foundation

Ghana: ‘Stop using zongo youth to cause mayhem’

By Hafsa Obeng

The Ghana Muslim Mission (GMM) has called on politicians to desist from using zongo youth to cause mayhem in the country.

Dr Sheikh Amin Bonsu, the National Chairman of the GMM, urged the youth, especially Muslim youth, to name and shame any politician, groups or individuals who made an attempt to use them for such acts.

“Per Islamic teachings and human wisdom, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be used for such acts. However, if Muslim youths fail to dissociate themselves from such acts, we will have no option than to come together to pressurise them to do so,” he said.

Sheikh Dr Bonsu said this at a press conference, organised by the GMM in Accra, to condemn some wrongs in the society and recommend ways to deal with them.

He condemned the recent attack on the New Times Corporation journalists encouraged them to be bold and prudent in their discharge of their duties.

“The law must deal drastically with anyone who attacks or tries to take away the independence of journalists who are important tools for promoting socio-economic development.”

The Chairman appealed to all nations to avoid violence, terrorism, racism, extremism, murder and all sorts of hate crimes.

Dr Sheikh Bonsu called on security agencies, especially the Ghana Police Service, to be circumspect in the discharge of their duties and to avoid extreme use of force on innocent citizens.

“We also appeal to all Ghanaians to be law abiding and appreciate the work of the Security Agencies, especially the Ghana Police Service, who are always with us on our daily routines,” he said.

On the GMM’s developmental projects, Dr Sheikh Bonsu called on government, politicians, and all Muslims to support its fund raising activities for the construction of a College of Education at Kukuom and similar projects in other regions.

The Ghana Muslim Mission is a non-political association of Muslims aimed at promoting the development agenda of the government and generally contributing to socioeconomic development.

It has over 120 schools nationwide as well as hospitals, technical and vocational training centres.

Source GNA

Nigeria: Yoruba youths react to Adeleke’s victory

By Wale Odunsi

The Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide (YCYW) has hailed the declaration of Sen. Adejola Adeleke, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the Sept. 22, 2018 governorship election in Osun State.

NAN quoted President of the youth group, Aremo Hassan, as describing the judgment of the tribunal as a ” true reflection of justice.”

“With sublime heart of joy, we heartily felicitate with His Excellency, Senator Ademola Adeleke, the Governor of Osun State, the good people of Osun State, Yoruba Land and Nigeria as a whole, on the special winning today 22nd March,2019 at the Osun State Election Tribunal”, he said in a statement.

“This is indeed a true reflection of justice and will of the people. We salute the courage and tenacity of the Adeleke Family to have stood their ground in the face of monumental adversaries and political intimidation, our own Ominira Osun came into reality.

“We want to use this medium to remind His Excellency that this is not the time for Jamboree but real work of progress must commence in earnest in Osun State as promised during campaigns and that assured us on behalf of the Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide,” he said.

Hassan, a legal practitioner said that the group advocated 26 per cent education budgetary allocation.

He also urged Adeleke to focus on economic growth of Osun State as the emerging economic hub of the nation, adding that the group remained steadfast as partners in progress on the quest to salvage the state.

NAN reports that the three-member panel said during its ruling that the rerun election that held on Sept. 27, 2018, was illegal.

The tribunal, therefore, deducted the votes scored by the APC candidate,
Gboyega Oyetola, in the rerun after declaring the rerun illegal.

The tribunal said Adeleke won the election at the first ballot on Sept. 22 and the rerun that INEC devised to reach a final conclusion a week later was illegal.

“The declaration of Oyetola is null and void,” the tribunal ruled in a majority decision with one member dissenting.

Source Daily Post

Adams Urged Nigerian Youths to Support Davido #Defendyourvote

NIGERIA YOUTHS SHOULD SUPPORT DAVIDO #Defendyourvote.jpg
Taribo Echikamadu Adams is a Nigerian who lives in South Korea

By Azugbene Solomon

Taribo Echikamadu Adams is from Rivers State, Nigeria, but based in South Korea.

Adams in a chat with All Africa Youths Platform (AAYP) via their Instagram account @allafricayouthsplatform, Adam’s @edtadam told AAYP to help him pass a message to his fellow Nigerian youths to support Davido’s hashtag advice #DefendYourVote

This is what he said… “My name is Adams, I live in Daejeon, South Korea, am from Rivers State, Nigeria.

“It’s my dream that Africa becomes all that we are meant to be and as her citizens, promote any trust and hope that our leaders are able to effectively and efficiently care out the duties of we they are voted for; not creating tension and bad leadership for the good of her citizens and the younger generation.

“Hence as a Nigerian youth, I wish to promote my support to the guidance of one of Nigerians greatest artist @davidoofficial to encourage and ensure that Nigeria youths elect a leader in the forthcoming elections by the grace and mercies of God.
God bless Africa and God bless Nigeria.” Adams said.

The Presidential elections was postponed by the INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu from the initial date 16th February to 23rd of February 2019.

Source AAYP