Drop voting age limit: electoral laws faulted by advocates

By staff writer

Youths advocates in the northern region have suggested that the eligibility of people who can be allowed to participate in politics be revised to at least 16.

It is in the view of the advocates that the country’s electoral laws are discriminatory against the youths and needs urgent revision.

According to the advocates, electoral laws must be reviewed so that people from the age of 16 can start being fielded to contest in all political positions.

Speaking in an intervention, chairperson for Mzimba youth association, Moses Nkhana, said time for theorizing youth empowerment philosophy is gone and authorities must begin practicing the ideology.

“National registration laws allow people from the age of 16 to be registered for a national identity card. Meaning, such people are grown up and can make informed decisions. But come the voting eligibility, it remains on 18 years of age, why?” Wondered Nkhana.

“We need to review the electoral laws so that we can create a massive political participation amongst the youths,” he added.

In Malawi, the youth accounts for about 70% of the population and according to Nkhana, it is important to start involving such a huge population in decision making positions at all levels.

“Youths are leaders of today. We need to be seeing them actively participating in everything,” said Nkhana. “This would help to refrain them from delinquency because they will feel responsible for their country.”

Nkhana further compared the political participation amongst the youths in countries like Uganda where he claimed people aged as young as 17 are elected in different political positions and are allowed to even contest as presidents.

“But in Malawi, laws are very stringent. They’re strict on 35 years for someone to contest as a president. We say no! Let the laws allow everyone from the age of 16 to take part,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nkhana further dismayed the cabinet which president Chakwera appointed and all his appointments, citing that they are not youth inclusive.

He said, there are no young people under the age of 30 in the decision making positions as appointed by the president, a development he regards as retrogressive towards youth empowerment.


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