NAIROBI, Aug 13 – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta is challenging politicians and policy makers globally to embrace ideas by the youth, instead of prescribing programmes and interventions without their involvement.
In a speech to mark International Youth Day, released through his Facebook and Twitter accounts, Mr Kenyatta opined that the problems facing the youth over the years have been sparked by refusal to integrate their participation in formulation of policy and design of programmes.
“We in the world and we in Kenya must strive to pay greater attention to our youth. We do our nations a great disservice when we choose to aggravate rather than support young people and when we choose to tell them how it’s done rather than listen to how it could be done. We do our youth a great disservice when we choose to sideline them and push them into complacency rather than demand the excellence we know them to be capable of,” Mr Kenyatta noted.
“We must hear them and allow the words that they say to affect the deepest parts of our rational conscience and emotional intellect. We must allow ourselves to be surprised by the vast extent of their wit, creativity, and innovative ability, to empathize with their challenges and to understand their lives,” he added.
” We must stop looking at the youth as an issue to be dealt with and begin to see them as a formidable force to be reckoned with, ” Uhuru challenged, saying the youthful generation is a group “of able-minded, creative, hopeful people with ambitions that we should encourage and opinions that we must listen to.”
Mr Kenyatta, who addressed his speech to youth worldwide, but at times focused on Kenyan youths regretted that whereas economic experts had pointed out that the youth were the main drivers of wealth creation, the group was still burdened by day to day survival instead of being given space to dream, create aspirations and hope.
“It is so sad, to witness the radiance, the hope and the idealism of our youth be snuffed out by hardships that we could help to ease and disillusion that we have had a part in causing,” Mr Kenyatta admitted.
The Finance Minister however challenged the youth not go sit back and wait for handouts saying, “I applaud every young person who has attempted to in anyway rise above their situation and pursue a passion, or help their community or even help their family.”
“I cannot begin to express the admiration I have for your resilience. For as long as you continue in the same spirit- you cannot fail. You are great beacons of hope to our country and it is my prayer that we would be more like you.”
Mr Kenyatta said that global leaders should be willing to sacrifice personal comfort for youth development arguing, “I am convinced we will be able and more than willing to take the practical steps towards supporting the youth regardless of the cost to our own personal comfort.”
Opining that investing in youth was one of the ways, to stop them from, “becoming stereotype breakers, community shapers and, eventually, world changers.”
The speech was released to mark the 25th anniversary of the International Youth Day.