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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Delineating place of the youth in the national agenda

My last class teacher at Box 251 Kisumu, Stephen Salano, once told me that teachers kill by the
    stroke of the pen. He was referring to that piece of paper called school leaving certificate which many students take for granted. There is a huge difference between a school leaving certificate simply written; Young and promising, and one boldly put He works well under supervision. By copy of the above recommendation the future of a young man is either built or destroyed. Just to mention, a school leaving certificate becomes a permanent companion of all other attachments on documents throughout the life of an individual.
Many truths can be said about the young men and women of our country. They constitute a formidable percentage of the population, are energetic and therefore most active members of the society. All other conditions remaining constant, they have a longer ‘shelf-life’ when compared with the elderly. The above scenario makes them an invaluable national  asset, hence demand for best deployment and active participation in matters of national interest. At community level the youth take part in rescue operations, till the land and care for the elderly members of society. Engaging in criminal activities like mugging and house break-ins does not augur well for society. The past should not look like a list of confessions of the sins committed but a reflection of the positive impact on society.
Our society is adequately equipped with tools that can help position the youth in their rightful place on the national table. Chapter 4 of the constitution articulates all the rights of the citizens including the youth. The church, schools and positive cultural practices are institutions that can help the youth find their right bearing in the society. The 18-35 age bracket of youthfulness is a temporary situation which must be put to good use. Responsible young men and women will surely transit to responsible adults who will in turn take this country to greater heights of development. We may shout ourselves hoarse on the requirements of Chapter 6 on leadership and integrity but if the enforcers of this process are not properly prepared from an early stage then the war is as good as lost.
Sporting activities play a noble role in keeping our young men and women engaged. This is good for body and soul as well as helping to keep them away from such vices as drug abuse or alcohol indulgence. Sports have made our country famous while earning our sportsmen an income. The country stands to benefit a lot, through taxation on income and sports gear. Is the government benefiting from the big cars imported by Oliech,Dunford and Kemboi?  It is said nothing good comes easy and therefore it is incumbent on the part of government to upgrade the sports infrastructure.
Participation of young people in political parties issues is still wanting. The youth are the epitome of tyranny of numbers by virtue of being the majority. This puts them in a vantage position of decision making and yet they are not consulted on matters affecting their parties. What we witness is occasional engagement in vices like causing mayhem at political rallies and nothing else. It is encouraging to note that a bill by Johnson Sakaja, the rapper and guitarist, to award 30pc of government contracts to the youth is in force and there is another one regarding Youth employment is in the pipeline. The only thing in the bill which may generate debate is the clause that suggests that persons above the age of 35 should not be absorbed in government service.   What may be disturbing is news that the National Youth Council is limping due to lack of funds. Parliamentary committees on various issues are griped with corruption claims and this is an area that requires the input of the youth if they have to remain untainted.
The motorcycle boda boda concept is a phenomenon that is directly associated with the youth. It has helped many young men put food on the table. While this has impacted positively on society the rate at which deaths through bike-instigated accidents are happening leaves a lot to be desired. Our patting shot is that when the youth engage in positive aspects we should be ready to commend them with the same frequency of voice cords we do when they err.