FOR AS long as we can remember, the words “the youth are the leaders of tomorrow” has always been a phrase we’ve heard.
The idea is that young people should lead their lives in a way that will position them for leadership roles; to be passed the mantle to in other words.
In Malawi however, the elders in power just don’t seem to want to relinquish said roles.
We’ve seen a trend of leaders who stay in power for years and years with no visible proof of any progress one would expect of such long tenure.
A 25 year old with a passion for youth empowerment and poverty eradication, Pemphero Mphande, has made the brave and to many, surprising decision to run for a seat in parliament.
The founding member of FACTS Malawi, an NGO that educates and supports youth in issues concerning HIV/AIDS, has made a name for himself as a vocal advocate for change in government policies as well as political events on social media.
But lots of people rant on social media; how is he different?
It starts with actually wanting to do something about the situation in the country not just talking about it.
He started a movement called Viva la Revolution Malawi, a connection of citizens across the country who group together to meet and discuss ways around problems; solution builders.
They push people’s minds to think out of the confines the government puts on them; to believe they actually have the power of change not just waiting for it.
The movement is not associated to any political party; they are an independent body with arms of vibrant, angry, and hungry for change Malawians.
Pemphero however, is running for office under Umodzi Party, a fairly new political party headed by John Chisi.
A fair few of his movement members felt betrayed by this, as the group felt association with a political party defeated the purpose of wanting change.
Many said he was caught up in the “handout” mentality and was no longer a bona fide change agent.
Nevertheless, his continued dedication to firing up everyone on social media and personal involvement in community activities as well as the events the movement took part in slowly won everyone back to his side.
As to his representation of the party, he already works as Chisi’s spokesperson and felt it was a healthy move to align himself with a man whose vision he believed was similar to his own.
But what is Pemphero’s vision? Why should voters put their faith in him? How is he any different from the 193 currently in office? He believes it’s a simple option.
The youth are constantly asking what the country can do for them, his mantra is different; what can the youth do for the country?
He believes in power to the youth. Economy drives every nation and the Malawian economy is suffering from extracting exorbitant taxes from a very small tax base.
His plan is to increase that tax base through job provision, especially for the youth who make up the majority of Malawian citizens.
If more young people have jobs, more have spending power, more will support others in business, therefore more will be eligible to pay taxes which fuel the country’s progress.
The setback is how the taxes are used, buying expensive and unnecessary cars for ministers and allowances for pointless trips.
This is why Pemphero feels having young people who have experienced the painful end of tax misuse in power is how things can actually change.
He believes he will make use of his seat the way it should be used; voicing concerns over budget deliberations, exposing unfair expenditure and even vying for a change in constitutional policies and laws that are holding back the nation from actually seeing a risen sun.
Blantyre City South has a live wire running for MP.
The realization of his goal lies in the hands of apathetic voters but ultimately, his own strength of will.
“Power to the Youth” is his slogan, and a powerful young man he is.
Pemphero Mphande just might be the bright light so many have been looking for in the young people of today.