President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged the youth of East Africa region to avoid being used by politicians as instrument for causing chaos.
The president says the youth comprise 80 percent of the region’s population, saying it is a big enough number to shape leadership and the future of the community.
While addressing a youth forum in Uganda on Saturday, the President also answered questions from participants on leadership, management and business.
“A time has come for us to recognise that we are a mature nation; and by recognising that we must say that as young people we will not be used as the instruments of chaos,” he said amid cheers from the youthful audience.
“Let us choose and elect our leaders on the basis of the vision they have for us, on the ability of what they will do for us, for the East African region and not on how they will use us.”
The President who was invited to the forum in his capacity as the Chairman of East Africa Community, said he will mobilise his counterparts to give youths priority while creating job opportunities.
“Let us become instruments of saying that if indeed you (youths) are the majority… you have the capacity to choose a leader who can make a change in your life,” he challenged.
In the televised forum dubbed Pakasa, the President assured that, “the leaders in the region will not take a decision that will impact negatively on East Africa.”
On security, the president said, “it must be the responsibility of every citizen in East Africa… We must all be our brother’s keeper.”
Security, more so in Kenya, has been a major challenge following numerous terror attacks at its major cities.
The president who revealed that he has never been unemployed had kind words for the young people who want to become leaders.
“I have never been unemployed, but I have wasted a few years,” he said. “As a young person you must believe in yourself. Nobody will change your life but yourself.”
If the region economy was to grow, the President cautioned that the region must fight corruption which he says hampers on the development of the region.
“We as leaders must all be keen and focus on fighting corruption,” he stated. “One of the biggest impediments to growth and development is corruption. This has been a major issue.”
The president also called on all people to embrace the integration of the region which he says will greatly improve the well being of the East Africans as well as enhance the economy of the region too.
“The more we move together, the more we attract investment together,” he stated.
“If we want to be big, we must be seen as big…If we want to create the kind of jobs that create opportunities, we need to talk on behalf of East Africa.”
“The kind of East African we are looking to see is an East African who sees themselves as East African. America was built by Americans, Germany was built by Germans, and East Africa will be developed by East Africans.”
On the natural resources being discovered in the region, the president said “we have survived without these natural resources, our greatest resource is our people; we need to invest in them.”
“We don’t want to focus on one major resource. We need to diversify our economies to create various opportunities.”
The president had earlier held talks with his host President Yoweri Museveni and Salva Kiir of South Sudan.