As the Flagbearer race begins to gain momentum, I cannot hesitate but to put out seven 7 key things a successful Flagbearer should expect from the new and emerging youth wing of the Party.
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come to me because your liberation is bound up in mine, we can work together.” — Lilla Watson
We can assure any flagbearer hopeful that the expectations of young people in the NDC this time round, have evolved from seeking charity to solidarity. The days when paying fees is counted as a contribution to our livelihood is long gone. The days when inviting young people to meetings, conferences, seminars, consultative and or validation meetings and trips abroad is long gone. The era of tokenism has come to an end!
I would briefly spell out the stringent requirements for an effective all inclusive governance and development of young peoples’ agenda.
*1. TRACK THE DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG ONES IN THE PARTY*
It has been haphazard, disjointed and tokenized in the past. This approach does not in anyway guarantee a consistent, effective development of the youth. The party and with the commitment of the Flagbearer, must develop a program of action that will spot, identify, groom and nurture the development of young people that demonstrate signs of leadership in their own ways. There are several student leaders, campus (TEIN) party leaders and community-based leaders that have lost interest in our party owing to neglect and lack of appropriate coordination. It would be in our own interest as a party to get back to the drawing board and harness the potentials of these groups of people.
*2. Develop a tangible and coordinated program avenues for career progression and development.*
The NDC as a party must begin to invest heavily in areas such as research/academia, law, media, information technology and business education. A successful Flagbearer must demonstrate his readiness to harmonize resources to consciously facilitate the continous and persistent training of party youth through a progressive quota system for students yearly. We would make remarkable progress by reigning in the intellectual community if we dare roll out a program aimed at building the capacity of young people in this stride.
*3. Develop and implement a blueprint for attaining Economic Power.*
One of the key nemesis of the NDC has been the erroneous impression that we are not business friendly. We are quick to attain political power but not economic power. I have come to the realisation that in life, nothing happens on its own. If it must happen, then we must make it happen. Let us consciously penetrate the business environment through entrepreneurial support, soft loans and setups. Let’s give young people the opportunity to get into real business and support their growth. Political power is useless without a corresponding economic power to the youth. We are not looking for political jobs but economic jobs!
“The more we increase the active participation and partnership with young people, the better we serve them… And the more comprehensively we work with them as service partners, the more we increase our public value to the entire community.” — Carmen Martinez
*4. Partnership NOT Aid*
The days in the past where appointees hand out peanuts, pay fees, hospital bills amongst others, and that is trumpeted as support for the Youth is an old faded philosophy.
The days where people of no true party color are appointed to sensitive political positions are over.
“I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is vertical, so it’s humiliating. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other and learns from the other. I have a lot to learn from other people.” — Eduardo Galeano
The days where appointees abuse party folks because they gave them jobs should and must be over. The days where party folks who were in the trenches, some losing their livelihoods, others injured and some other losing their lives in the process and yet when power is delivered, they become the last in the queue must end!
*5. Reserve slots for Party Youth while in power.*
We are witnesses to the ravaging effect of the invincible forces. We do not promise invincible forces but rather visible forces. Forces who will be committed to the progress of young ones. Forces who believe in hard work, truth, probity and accountability. Forces who believe in fairness and stand up to the truth. Forces who serve as the conscience of the party; those ready to defend the party, appointees and the legacy of the President when we win 2020 and forces that will deal with saboteurs of Government when we form government in 2021.
“We believe that we can confront the challenges of tomorrow when we are adequately given roles and an opportunity to serve and learn as well to continue our community organizing, advocacy and services to the Party”
*6. AUTONOMY NOW OR NEVER*
Is it not ironic that, the NDC Constituition regards the Youth Wing as second rated? We are made to be under the office of the National Organizer and that creates operational challenges for the Youth. We are capable of running the Youth Office without any bureaucratic hindrances. We are ready to make our own mistakes and learn from same. A Flagbearer willing to liberate us from this constitutional chaos will enjoy spontaneous growth and expansion of the Youth. We Can! Yes we can!
7. *NO FOOT SOLDIER MUST REMAIN A FOOT SOLDIER AFTER 4YEARS IN POWER*
We must endeavour to redefine the ‘footsoldier’ concept through deliberate and consistent engagement, creation of opportunities and to ensure their development process.
Times have changed and the least we can do for Party folks is to alleviate poverty and get them into a place where they are able to contribute positively to Party support and growth.
Wonder Madilo- Aspiring NDC National Youth Organizer