Youth who will cast their votes in the forthcoming general elections have been advised to elect leaders who will create more opportunities for prosperity for all Kenyans.
Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Ms. Nadia Abdalla said there is need for the young to step in the lead and seek for integrity, sound policies, upright ethics and morals as this will enable them contribute to the prospect of improved leadership over the coming political cycle.
“You are Kenya’s hope. We do not have the luxury of staying silent, nor do we have the luxury of not believing we could make a change. Peaceful elections are possible if we act together and act now,” said Nadia.
The CAS was speaking during the launch of the Inter-Generational Dialogue and Uwiano held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Nairobi which is aimed at fostering dialogue and promoting cooperation and cohesion between the young and the elderly to address societal issues affecting their communities.
She said the 2007/2008 post-election violence marked a defining moment in understanding the role of young people as essential in peace building, sustainable development, have strong values of tolerance and social cohesion, they possess unique ideas and visions for the future besides developing innovative solutions that drive real change in their communities .
“The new era of youth participation requires that they are actively engaged in electoral, political and decision making processes, shaping policies, adopting strategies and implementing actions,” stated Nadia and urged them to hold politicians accountable once elected.
“As we engage in politics and exercise our democratic right to vote, let us remember the core fabric that unites Kenya is that of peace, love and harmony as the law abiding and patriotic people that we are,” she advised.
She added that if the youth are well empowered and their capacity built, the country will spark and sustain a youth leadership that will realize achievement initiated by the older generations.
She said the dialogue was important as it will provide an opportunity to learn from experiences and insights from both the young and elderly who have been shaping their communities to share their achievements, experiences and challenges that will yield tangible proposals.
The CAS said the challenges the country is facing are national, but demand local solutions and urged the youth to work in unison with the elderly persons in their communities to promote peaceful co-existence and elections, as well as the signed peace charter by the elders and youth.
Nadia expressed confidence that through dialogue the young and elderly will share views and experiences that will foster critical reflections on peaceful elections.
She reaffirmed the ministry’s commitment to foster youth inclusion, participation and representation in electoral and political processes, adding that the country and the government is looking on them to build a more peaceful and prosperous sustainable future for all Kenyans.
“Kenya has a noble track record in peace-making, peacekeeping, dialogue facilitation and mediation in Africa. However, to be proud of our successes is not to be blind to our weaknesses, or to lose sight of the critical threats that continue to undermine the security within the nation,” Nadia stated.
She at the same time, commended the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, United Nations Development Project and the Embassy of Sweden for their longstanding support in rallying multi-stakeholder commitment and engagement towards peaceful elections.
On women’s rights, Nadia called upon the young people and the elderly to create awareness on the continued inequalities and violations against women which has become rampant.
“We should enact a rule forbidding these vices. Culprits should be slapped with stiff penalties and made to face the law,” she said.
The CAS said women form half of the global population yet they are excluded in both decision-making and implementation processes geared towards charting sustainable peace and security.
Nadia commended women for being brave and mobilizing themselves despite barriers and challenges they face to address the issues of discrimination, violation and assault in a bid to raise their status.
By Bernadette Khaduli