The ACB Director General, Mr Matemba
The Director of Public Education, Mrs. Charity Mphande
ALL the ACB Staff present,
The young people here present,
The Director of Ceremonies,
Members of the press is present,
Ladies and gentlemen
As a Ministry responsible for youth, we are greatly honoured this morning to attend this official opening ceremony for the National Youth Forum where young people have converged to discuss anti-corruption issues and how they can participate in the anti-corruption drive.
You are all aware that Youth in Malawi form part of a huge significant proportion of the population with more than two thirds under the age of 35 years. Young people are involved in all sectors of the society, any programme that does not put young people at the centre of its focus and targeting will not achieve its intended goals. In Chichewa, there is a proverb which says “Kuongola mtengo unali waung’ono” which loosely means that one cannot straighten a tree while it is fully grown. If we are to see sustained change in this country, the young people themselves should be in the forefront of programming. National behavioural change can never be achieved if youth are not the primary target. Therefore, I applauded and commend the Anti-Corruption Bureau for this paradigm shift where they are positioning young people at the centre of civic education on the adverse effects of corruption at all levels.
Despite numerous interventions such as enacting the Corruption Practices Act, asset declaration, comprehensiveness of the anti-corruption legal framework, enforcement remains poor and it is not strange hearing of some officials engaging in corruption with impunity. On annual basis, reports indicate that Malawi is being plagued by the scourge of corruption across all sectors. From obtaining a license, to accessing basic services, to traffic fines, to access to land, even within families and places of worship, corrupt practices are taking root.
I will not dwell much on the situation of corruption in Malawi nor what creates a fertile ground for corruption as I am not a technocrat in this field but I would like to talk about how young people can lead the fight against corruption in Malawi.
The Director, Ladies and gentlemen, the Ministry through the National Youth Policy of 2013 recognises that youth are energetic, strong, industrious, innovative and healthy and constitute a significant proportion of the country’s population. To ensure that issues affecting the youths and other target groups are adequately addressed, it is imperative that the youth themselves do not only actively participate in the key decision making processes but that they are also given leadership roles. This would ensure that the decisions made and programmes designed are in the final analysis are reflective of the needs of the youth as seen from the perspective of the youth themselves. However, empirical evidence shows that youth are not often included in important decision-making bodies. That is why this gesture and paradigm shift by The Anti-Corruption Bureau is quite commendable. Youth are already mobilised across the country through structures such as youth clubs, youth organisations, youth networks among others and they are ready to partner with ACB and drive the anti-corruption agenda forward with zeal and enthusiasm.
The Director, Ladies and Gentlemen, there are many ways that young people can push forward this agenda. Examples can include the following:
1. Citizen rights reports: young people’s opinion matters and if young
people mobilise themselves, their combined voice can carry so much
2. Tech solutions: youth are known as the digital natives and the
internet especially social media provides an opportune platform
where youth can help document corruption cases, mobilising efforts
against corruption and providing a platform where young people
across boundaries can come together and fight against corruption
3. Use of creative arts: music, poetry, paintings, comics, cartoons,
theatre and dram and spoken word among others can be useful in
community engagement, mobilisation and dissemination of information
against corrupt practices and incidences.
4. Sports: sports has been known to drive critical agendas such as
5. Community awareness campaigns:
6. Education programmes
In conclusion, I urge young people that much as you will be on the frontlines in the anti-corruption drive, dealing with this issues start within you. Let us be innovative, creative, forward thinking and make better use of modern technology in the fight against corruption. Youth are diverse and as such let us not take a one size fits all approach in delaying with the problem but rather devise strategies that are tailored to this diversity. Let us empower our youth and give them the chance to design programmes where they are the leaders in this fight. Nothing for the youth without the young people. This nation’s future lies in the hands of the young people.
I wish you nice deliberations and discussions for the next 2 days. As a Ministry, will support you in anyway required in this new venture. Thank you very much for your attention. And may God bless you all and bless our nation.