NAIROBI, Kenya May 5 – The Chairman of the Pan African Forum Dr David Matsanga has urged African youths to always make the right choice during elections to avoid perennial complaints.
Matsanga said the youth make the largest population in the continent and are a determining factor in each election yet they keep lamenting after voting in their leaders.
“You are the ones who vote in the leaders,” Matsanga said during the African renaissance conference organised by his Pan African Forum, “every election cycle you are complaining yet you always have the chance to vote in the leaders you want during elections.”
He was responding to questions from participants drawn from African conferences who said corrupt leaders were “not taking Africa forward.”
“My advise to you the youth of Africa is, engage constructively, do not engage in violence or any illegal and undemocratic means,” he said.
Calls to unlock the potential of Africa as a continent dominated the virtual conference in the capital Nairobi that brought together youth leaders drawn from across the continent and professionals from various sectors.
Those who spoke were united in saying Africa that has what it takes to rise but will only succeed if youth stop blaming leaders and instead engage constructively while utilising their diverse skills particularly in Agriculture and innovation.
Kenya’s scholar PLO Lumumba said, “The potential in Agriculture and many more sectors must be exploited for Africa to take its rightful position in the world. The continent has great youth leaders.”
Matsanga said the future of Africa lies in the hands of the youth, “The Pan African Forum always urges you to engage peacefully and constructively, do not give up and do not be violent. Our forum does not advocate for misbehaviour, it advocates you to talk about what is ailing Africa. You are the new generation.”
54 youth leaders from universities across Africa and more than 200 guests are taking part in the conference.
Javan Karanja, a Kenyan youth leader said for Africa to rise, the youth must take interest in issues that affect them.
“Africa renaissance will happen when the youth stop being subjects and being misused. The youth must be on the negotiating table across Africa.”
He also urged more youth to embrace Agriculture and technological innovation.
“The youth must also stop relying too much on employment, and instead get into self-employed, there are a lot of opportunities that need to be exploited to end unemployment which is a major challenge not only in Kenya but across the continent,” haid.
From Zimbabwe, Abigael Mupambe said it was time to “domesticate Africa’s democracy.”
“We must take charge of our destiny and stop blame games,” she said, “We must come up with proposals on solutions that can work and this can only happen with a united Africa and its youth.”
Gaudence Were, a lawyer and youth leader from Kenya said “the youth must stand up and take their position in advancing development and politics.”
“They must ensure that policies implemented are for the benefit of the people,” she said.
The virtual conference held at Villa Rosa Kempinski, which was themed Youth and African Renaissance kicked off on Wednesday and will end on Friday.
Dr Matsanga said the conference is aimed at evaluating and discuss challenges facing Africa as a continent, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic that has slowed down economic activities across the world.
Jane Mwikali from Meta Meta foundation in Kenya said “the youth must not give up. They must keep thinking and innovating for the success of Africa.”
Uganda leader from Kampala, Uganda, Samuel Waswa, said for Africa to succeed, governments must address insecurity, poor political climates and other challenges which limit the youth from rising.
“Our governments must tackle these challenges, African countries is faced with a lot of challenges which have negative impacts in development,” he said.