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Green Forum empowers a new generation of African politicians

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Anna Mate is interviewing interested candidates for participation in the Programme for Young Politicians in Africa.

After a year of meticulous preparations, Green Forum is happy to announce that the Program for Young Politicians (PYPA) in Africa is now starting up in Zambia and Malawi. PYPA is a multi-party political academy that aims to build the capacity of young politicians to take up leadership positions in their respective parties and hence deepen democracy and advance the position of young people in Africa.

This innovative program, funded by the Swedish government, started back in 2012 as a collaborative effort between three Swedish party affiliated organizations – the Christian Democratic International Center, the Olof Palme International Center and the Centre Party International Foundation, who are implementing the program in different sub-regions in Africa. Since 2016, Green Forum is part of this multi-party team and will be responsible for implementing the program in two new countries: Zambia and Malawi.

The timing could not have been better. Zambia recently concluded its national elections in where many people that contested were from the older generation and where the incumbent party, the Patriotic Front was declared winner. The election results have however been contested by UPND, the main opposition party who was beaten with only 50.35 percent. The candidates of the two rivaling parties are not on speaking terms and prospects of reconciliation between are low at the moment. Likewise in Malawi, Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party won the disputed 2014 polls with a 36.4 percent victory beating his two closest rivals Lazarus Chakwera, who won 27.8 percent, and outgoing president Joyce Banda who won 20.2 percent. The Malawian election was dominated by chaos, a symbol of a crippled democratic process.

But there is light in the tunnel. In late November Green Forum together with its implementing partner Young African Leaders Initiative, YALI, will gather 44 young promising leaders from 14 political parties in Malawi and Zambia for a two weeks intensive Training Session on topics such as democratic governance, party ideology, conflict resolution, leadership, gender and much more.

According to Anna Mate, PYPA-coordinator at YALI the program will greatly inspire young Africans in Zambia and Malawi “our government hardly has any programs that seek to build young people’s capacity for leadership. Therefore, this training will place our generation’s youth on the pedestal to good leadership prospects for better governance”.

In both Zambia and Malawi, young people face difficulties in taking part in decision making both due to discriminatory attitudes towards youth but also due to lack of qualifications to hold key positions in government. PYPA therefore fills this void by equipping the youth in Zambia and Malawi with the necessary training that will have governments recognize their abilities.

In Malawi and Zambia just as in many other African countries youth have been used as a tool for political violence during elections by older politicians. According to Anna Mate at YALI “this program is the perfect eye opener for many youths to see that their place in the governance system transcends the bottom of the barrel and that with the necessary skills and training provided by PYPA, they will claim their place in leadership”.

/Maria Jacobson

PYPA coordinator at Green Forum