By Mdyomba Che Ambute
The Distinguished Gentleman
AswelereMdyomba? Let me start by congratulating the people of Finland for recently electing a 34 year old woman, Sanna Marin, as their Prime Minister, consequently making her the youngest world leader. What a mature decision by an enlightened country.
This has come at a time when there were youth agendas both in the just ended May 2019 Malawi Tripartite Elections and the 2014 Tripartite Elections as well.
Some sectors of the society believe that it’s high time the younger generation took over and *took* charge of the future. It doesn’t really matter what qualities a candidate has, are they young? If yes then let’s all vote for them!
But wait, let’s look at the Finland case it in a different light. So she’s 34, and a woman, and if she’s been elected to the role they must believe in her politics, her age and gender should have nothing to do with it. No?
Mdyomba, I don’t care who leads a country: their age, gender, sexual preference, race, tribe are nothing in comparison to how they treat people, and in turn run the country they have been voted in to do.
The moment we start attaching age to votes is the moment we start losing the plot. Kutitiyambepo ma example ndemawatifikatu. On one side of the coin you have youthful leaders like Thomas Sankara who were real patriots and great leaders who did all they could to turn around their country’s economy and uplift the lives of the citizens.
One the other side we have the Joseph Kabilas, youthful leaders who ruled with an iron fist and crushed the opposition with violence spiraling their nations into chaos.
The criteria for being elected president shouldn’t vary with age, and age (alone) can’t tell you what you need to know to determine a person’s intellectual, emotional, physical or experiential fitness for the presidency, whether that candidate is 35 or 90. You see Mdyomba, by focusing on age alone we are ignoring all the other factors that one has to consider before voting. Youthfulness alone doesn’t cut it. I mean, look at the infamous cashgate scandal, the majority (if not all) of those implicated both on the government side and the private sector were people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Should we then conclude that all younger people shouldn’t be considered for leadership positions based on this? I don’t think so. And by the way, by saying we should vote for one because they’re young we are historically disqualifying great leaders like Sir Winston Churchill, Mahatma Ghandi, Clement Attlee, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and (gaaaasp) Africa’s very own Nelson Mandela who became president of the Republic of South Africa at the age of 76. Madiba is actually regarded as one of the greatest leaders to ever walk on earth.
President Donald Trump turned 73 this year. Two of his leading challengers, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, are 76 and 77, respectively. A third, Elizabeth Warren, is 70. This is the United States of America mind you, the greatest country on earth and arguably the most democratic nation. Now look at the Malawi May 2019 Presidential Election results (top 4). The two oldest candidates beat the two youngest candidates by a huge margin. Get my drift? This is despite the fact that the majority of the registered voters were young people.
So next time you want to woo people to vote for awowo please bring more to the table not just “it’s time for the youth to lead”. Yes, you’re young, but apart from that tell us why we should vote for you.
Masile Une Wawo,
Mdyomba Che Ambute
………………Views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post.