Youths from political parties from Malawi and Zambia have challenged leaders from the two countries to channel their energies to more productive debates as opposed to finger pointing and character assassination.
The youths brought together for a training program for young leaders by the Green Forum called Program For Young Politicians in Africa (PYPA) noted that the two countries face similar challenges but that just like twins, their leaders spend more time on issues that are not productive.
Making a contribution on a debate which focused on the economic activities of the two countries Zambia’s Prince Ndoyi from MMD said young people should move away from unproductive debates about individuals but instead combine efforts to end the rot.
He said unlike the senior politicians, young people should realise that the challenges faced in the two countries are bigger than individuals and cannot be resolved by finger pointing but by putting minds together regardless of ones political affiliation.
“I find this as a healthy discussion, we must not be afraid to differ, let’s have a healthy debate, it only disintegrates if we turn it tribal and simplistic. I must say am benefiting a lot from that, you see even here in Zambia we have heavily depended our economy on finishing assets like minerals, without a deliberate policy shift into manufacturing and industry especially service. And with these climate issues you can imagine the morality we want to mine in a park which will destroy the Eco-system and environment.
“We are having cheap debates, about HH having sold this and that, if people mean well, they should do the honorable and noble thing by stopping the rot. What we must do is direct our energies at reshaping the industry to manage the economics around it well without diluting it with petty cheap and partisan tribal politics, because poverty and hunger knows no tribe!”
On the over dependence on tobacco by Malawi, Ndoyi noted the need for authorities in Malawi to channel the profits from the tobacco industry to more sustainable industries as way of insulating the economy from the global politics of the tobacco industry.
“In tobacco, we also grow alot of it , but the campaign against it FTCT is heavily funded, it won’t succeed, the biggest consumer is China, the secret is how can you get the profits and dividends from that industry of tobacco and invest it in other sectors that are sustainable,” he said.
And Malawi’s Gracious Chirambo from AFFORD observed the need for his country to diversify from their economic mainstay of tobacco.
“I agree with you to a larger extent that we need to start diversifying our industry and start a gradual process of disentangling ourselves from the current economic mainstay. We can indeed invest in alot of sectors of the country,” he said.
He was however quick to mention that some of the challenges in the industry have been as result of deals cut behind closed doors by companies that buy the commodity while presenting a facade to the public that there is a free market economy in the industry.
“The diagnosis of poor performance of tobacco in Malawi. While you claim that it precipitates from world anti-tobacco campaign, I argue with valid and verifiable facts that the problem does not arise from that. If you dig through literature on the same, you will be surprised that the few companies that buy tobacco in Malawi cut deals behind doors and fix prices. Such that the idea of free market that is paraded by companies through the auction floor only hoodwinks us into believing that forces of supply and demand are at play. That’s the reason Bingu wa Mutharika used to fix tobacco prices because he knew tobacco companies always cut shady deals behind doors. I hope you get the point as with regards to tobacco prices in Malawi.
As young people these are the discussions we must preoccupy ourselves. Things that will bring bread and butter, the agriculture policy and politics surrounding it in Malawi.”