OPINION: It is time youth stay focused to their dreams

Mfangano Street, Nairobi. [Photo/Courtesy]

By Fredrick Banja

By law, I officially crossed the legal age of the youths as prescribed by government about 3 years ago, that is age 35 years. Even though this happened, spiritually I remain a youth. I still go through all the predicaments I used to undergo 10 years ago, and I would dare say that they are even worse now.

I’m now forced to play in the adults’ league for everything like tenders and any other opportunities. I can no longer use my AGPO certificate for special categories groups to get any government tenders at the same time at the senior league I often face questions such as whom do I know.

I can say that I have been fortunate enough, not because I knew people to help me out, but because for childhood, I have never allowed my situation to dictate my future, I have always been myself and I have always known what I want and what is good for me and I have always gone for it, I have failed many times and I have won equally many times. I have learnt that failure has never been the opposite of success, but part of success.

My fellow youths, as someone rightly put it here, yes we have been used and we have allowed ourselves to be used. We have glorified and keep glorifying leaders based on how much money they have, type of cars they drive and all the good things they have. Some of us go even further to praise them because they know how to buy alcohol and how the previous day they got drunk.

We have failed to put our leaders to account and to ask them the hard questions of accountability. We have forgotten that it’s the public resources that were meant to help us that they are using to bribe us.

The most painful bit is when we allow crooked leaders to use us to bring our fellow youths down. We forget that these words are very demeaning and are a big blow to anyone’s self-esteem, they only kill a person’s dreams and his leadership abilities that the society needs tomorrow. Only the strong are able to wither these storms, but I can say that the majority always die silently.

My appeal is that can we have a paradigm shift and redeem ourselves. Can we prove to these leaders that it’s not going to be business as usual and that we are able to chart our own path and be part of the future? I am one of the people who is so far disappointed with the current so called young leaders in parliament. I don’t personally call them leaders, but sycophants…let me stop this here without going further.

Bondo Constituency where I come from for instance is endowed with everything that any economy would need to prosper. Be it water, minerals, agriculture, human resources, and active population (Youth)

The only thing we lack is true leadership that can tap these resources and take our constituency forward. Leadership that is people driven, leadership that has the following attributes: Dynamic, Sober and Objective, Transparent and Accountable, Transformative,  That offers real Empowerment.

We need to promote education and entrepreneurship as well as innovations amongst our youths. We need to encourage and even enforce public participation so that we know what is meant for us. Civic education should be at the core of our activities so that we are aware of our civic duties.

Let us not put our personal interests ahead of the interest everyone. Let us not glorify money, but let’s work hard to make our own money which is an enabler to prosperity. Let us not be idle because there is a lot we can do. Let us believe in ourselves and hold each other’s hand whenever we are.

One weakness or strength I have depending on how one looks at it is that Banja does not entertain nonsense and does not promote laziness. I believe that not all our problems will be solved through employment but through entrepreneurship. I am a living example on this because I have never earned a salary in my entire life but I pay salaries every month to close to 60 people.

Fredrick Banja is the Regional Director (East Africa), APS – FINLAND

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