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Retirement from retirement irks youths

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The governing Tonse Alliance has come under fire for its tendency of recalling people from retirement to offer services in the public service, saying this is denying youths employment opportunities.

Commenting on the issue of the recent opening for retired servicemen and women in the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), youth rights commentators Charles Kajoloweka of Youth and Society and Mwandida Theu said the tendency counters the government’s public pronouncements on youth empowerment.

Kajoloweka said mandatory retirement age limits in the country’s public service regulations are put for a good purpose.

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“This tendency has the potential to demoralise others who are working hard in the service waiting for the very same opportunities. We agree that experience is of paramount importance but experience is not only found among retirees. Even those who are within the public service have the experience and can equally do a good job in those positions,” he said.

Theu concurred.

“As such, the current administration’s tendency to recall people from retirement means that the government does not believe in the potential of the youth and those in the public sector.

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“The Tonse Alliance, which is now governing, promised jobs to young people but, instead of prioritising young people, we have an administration that is busy bringing people from retirement back into the public service. We had a principal secretary in the Ministry of Youth who was recalled from retirement and, more recently, director at the Department of Immigration was also recalled from retirement. Why do we have a mandatory age limit in our laws in the first place? What does this mean for us, the youth? This is not the way to go,” she said.

A memo on the recruitment, which we have seen, says the opening is aimed at filling vacant positions of range wardens, airport security personnel, Velom secretariat, security guards and artisans which include plumbers, bricklayers, electricians, painters, carpenters and cooks.

“Malawi Defence Force intends to recruit retired service members to fill various positions brought about by deaths, retirements and dismissals. The exercise will be conducted on regional basis (Eastern, Northern, Southern and Central) and recruitment centres and locations will be announced in due course,” the memo reads.

MDF spokesperson Calvin Mlelemba defended the move, saying vacant positions which are to be filled need people with experience.

“Working in the mentioned locations requires experience and understanding of security matters, which these retirees have,” he said.

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