Youth have been challenged to rise up and take leadership positions in various sectors of the country’s economy to demystify the old adage that ‘youth are the leaders of tomorrow’.
The Kenya National Council of Elders Chairperson, Phares Ruteere said older members of the society fully supported the inclusion of young people in management for sustainable growth and stability of the nation.
Speaking during training of youth on national cohesion and national values at a Meru hotel on Tuesday, Ruteere urged the youth to form groups and pool their resources together in order to benefit from the various government empowerment programmes.
He wondered why a huge percentage of youth in the country were wallowing in abject poverty at a time when the government had created potential opportunities for them.
“Approximately 62 percent of Kenyans are youth. Most of them are poor, well learned, unemployed and a very angry lot. This was piling up negative feelings among the youth fraternity, thus fuelling hostility within communities,” he observed.
Ruteere cautioned young people against being jealous of those amongst them, who have made remarkable achievements, while regretting that the youth have remained the greatest enemy unto themselves.
“You are jealous of other youth who have achieved greater things. For instance, youthful members of county and national assemblies easily forget other young people although they were instrumental to their election,” stated the elders’ council chair.
He called on all elected leaders to keep close ties with the electorate just like they did during the hunt for votes, instead of keeping even the youth in the dark concerning their empowerment funds.
Ruteere underscored the value of transparency in the running of youth entrepreneurship programmes in order for more young people to benefit from government kitties such as Youth Enterprise Fund and the Uwezo Fund among others.
“Be honest by repaying funds advanced from the revolving kitties so as to give others a chance to also benefit,” he advised.
Ruteere, who once served as the sixth Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders Secretary General and is a prominent seed farmer in the region, urged young people to take up farming as a form of employment stating that small scale farming has seen many youth eke a decent living.
He said small scale farming together with Small and Medium Enterprises were a sure bet for success since they required less capital, minimal education and the returns on investment were almost guaranteed.
Meanwhile, National Cohesion and National Values Secretary in the Office of the President, Michael Ndung’u asked youth in the country to ensure they live by the tenets of the national values enshrined in Article 10 of the Constitution.
Ndung’u reiterated that national values were key to all and sundry hence the need to inculcate the culture in the youthful population.
He called on the youth to see beyond the Vision 2030 through focusing on the Sustainable Development value.
The Secretary said this particular training was focusing on the youth because they were adaptable to change unlike the older people in society.
“Once they understand the fundamental issues being tackled by the national values in terms of ensuring we put our national interests before individual, regional and ethnic groupings interests, we will have a better society,” he said.
On matters of integration, Ndung’u refuted claims that people working in their home areas would compromise national cohesion, arguing that human capital management was just one aspect leading to national cohesion.
He explained that there were other trails of political-economic issues that led to ethnic tensions in the country, citing lack of equity, social justice, unequal distribution of resources, discrimination, marginalization and corruption.
“The training on national values has been ongoing and besides the youth, we shall be engaging all stakeholders, including national and county government administrators among other groups,” he added.
The five day training comprised of 33 youths from across the county and would be ending this Friday.
By Richard Muhambe