, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 27 – Tribalism and corruption are the main challenges facing the Kenyan youths and the nation.
In her presentation to Pope Francis, youth representative Linnet Wambui cited the all too common scenario when ethnicity and nepotism has played a role in the service provision especially from public offices.
“Our diversity has sometimes been used selfishly to divide us, for instance when job seeking; deserving candidates are often locked out just because of who they are and where they come from. Does God have favourites? What is the fate of those who have no to hold their hands? Why should the tribe of origin define us?” Wambui posed.
“Our country is blessed with many natural resources, ranging from oil to coal. Yet the greatest obstacle to the access and share of these resources is corruption. Sometimes to get services in this country one must pay an extra charge in cash or in kind,” she read on amid applause from the youthful audience.
She cited that the youth have been influenced by a new culture of permissiveness and a desire for quick riches, many have taken ungodly paths.
Machakos Diocese Youth Secretary Emmanuel Mango took the mantle from Wambui and asked the Pope for guidance for youth who do not experience parental love.
“Your Holiness, we are trying to seek solace in alcohols, khat, immorality and drugs as a way of copping, however this is only escapism. Many of us are lucky to have loving relatives among us, nonetheless there are those here whose most painful memories come from the family circles,” Mango said.
Wambui had earlier told the Pope that most young people nowadays get their values from social media.
“We are grateful for your tweets on @pointifex and we follow them faithfully. They make us pause and reflect.”
“Most of us young people get our values from the social media and prevailing culture; positive or negative. As young people we often ignore the counsel of parents and guardians considering them to be backward, over the hill or quaint. Sometimes we are attracted to certain influential people in our society with questionable characters. Holy Father, as young people we are yearning for real role models and mentorship so that we are not carried away by worldly pleasures”
Bishop Antony Muheria had earlier told the Pope that the youths have been asking to be equipped with the instruments of change.
“Influenced by a new culture of permissiveness that has seeped into our society, and attracted by quick reaches, many other young people have fallen victim of a very immoral and ungodly life, we have witnessed many sad cases in our country. The youth before you, Holy Father, they want to be instruments of change for the better,” he said as he acknowledged the visit pontiff as a role model and mentor for the youth.
Francis, who is expected in Uganda later on Friday, concluded his Kenyan tour with a meeting with the clergy.
He said young people are any nation’s most valuable resource and to protect them, invest in them and offer them a helping hand, were the best ways their future could be assured.
With Kenya facing serious corruption scandals, Francis encouraged Kenyans to work with integrity and transparency and to foster a spirit of solidarity at every level.
“I ask you in particular to show genuine concern for the needs of the poor, the aspirations of the young, and a just distribution of the natural and human resources,” he said.
The 78-year-old pope spoke to a crowd estimated by the Vatican to be more than 20,000 people gathered in Nairobi’s Safaricom Kasarani Stadium where he encouraged Kenyans to work with integrity and transparency and to foster a spirit of solidarity at every level.
“Corruption is like sugar, sweet, we like, it’s easy,” Francis said. “Also in the Vatican there are cases of corruption. Please, don’t develop that taste for that sugar which is called corruption.”
Francis has dedicated much attention in his speeches to the problems, the prospects and the power of young people.
In his address to the young, the pope asked them to hone and perfect their faith like athletes who train for a match.
He urged them to not lose trust and to not allow their hopes to be extinguished.
Before Saturday’s event, young people from various age groups and several parts of the country indulged the College of Bishops who had preceded the Pope to the stadium to sampling some Kenya’s music and dance styles.
The Nairobi residents also streamed out of their homes and lined up along the papal route to welcome back the sun after days of clouds and downpours.
Young people carrying flags often broke into dances and an occasional Mexican wave would come into effect as the MC hyped the crowd ahead of the Pope’s entry into the complex.