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Why the youth are rebelling in E.Africa

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by nngu007, May 27, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    May 27, 2011
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    By In2EastAfrica - Fri May 27, 2:31 pm

    Former EAC Secretary General, Juma Mwapachu

    Failure to seriously address the many problems facing youth in East Africa is one of the reasons for their growing political militancy and increasing agitation for their rights, a meeting was told yesterday. Widespread unemployment, lack of involvement of young people in decision making bodies and development programmes were cited among the factors fuelling youth discontent.
    But the younger generation was also said to be taking advantage of advances in information technology, especially the social networking sites to challenge the existing order and demand changes.

    Participants at a convention entitled, ‘Africa and the Commonwealth: A Shared Vision for the Future’, held in Dar es Salaam, on Wednesday, agreed that there was an urgent need to involve young people more in the making of development plans, as they are the majority.
    “Currently, about 60 per cent of the population in East Africa is made up of youth. Therefore, every plan by the policy-makers touches youth directly, and there’s no way one can ignore them,” the moderator of the session, Mr Juma Mwapachu, who retired recently as the Secretary General of the East African Community, said.

    The meeting was organised by the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam on behalf of the Commonwealth Secretariat and addressed by three eminent persons from the Club.
    Noting that the “future is in the hands of youth”, Mr Mwapachu, who is a former diplomat, said governments had no option but to make the group realise it has a key role to play in the development of their countries.“However, the young people need to be directed to think more of promoting the public good than their individual wellbeing,” he cautioned.

    The former EAC chief’s remarks have come at a time when the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) is investigating the factors that made many young people abandon the party for the opposition during last year’s General Election.

    Youth involvement in politics has also greatly increased in Kenya and Uganda, as was witnessed during the referendum campaigns that ushered in a new constitution in the former and the recent massive ‘walk-to-work’ demonstrations organised by the opposition in the latter, which prompted a fierce crackdown by the security forces.

    The retired ambassador advised youth not to just sit back and blame the elders for not doing something for them, while they were not taking part in the development programmes. Speaking at the convention, members of the Commonwealth’s Eminent Persons said the Club needed to be reformed to make it more relevant to the current dynamics.

    “We are now in a world where one youth can organise a revolt against the government through Facebook (a social network)…we need to work together to make sure the problems of the young generation are resolved quickly before it is too late,” said Mr Samwel Kavuma, an eminent person from Uganda. Mr Kavuma said the high level of unemployment in the region was alarming and it was no wonder that the ‘walk-to-work’ campaign in Uganda, the post-2007 election violence in Kenya and the increasingly common protests and demonstrations in Tanzania mostly involved youth.

    “Without involving them in solving their problems, we will see many Egypts in Africa,” he warned.
    Mr Emanuel Akwetey, from Ghana, said the education systems of the various African countries should be made relevant to the environment in the continent. “We are lagging very far behind our fellow Commonwealth members,” he said.

    It was a shame, he added, that African universities did not offer relevant courses to specifically address African problems, but instead copied Western modules.“Why do we always need to send our children abroad for post-graduate courses? Why can’t we train them here?” he asked.
    He said the conversations in the developing Commonwealth nations should now dwell on education, learning and the role of youth, as the most critical issues that needed to be tackled.
    “Let’s strengthen our education systems and reduce the traffic of our people going abroad,” Mr Akwetey said.

    A Commonwealth Eminent Person from Canada, Mr Hugh Segal, who is a Senator in his country, said the Club was looking for ways to promote youth development and enterprise, social and political advocacy and election monitoring and support.
    By Sylivester Ernest, The Citizen