Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

31 January 2013

Tanzania: Youth Councils a Jolly Good Idea

BY one definition, youth is generally the time of life between childhood and adulthood (maturity). Though definitions of the exact age span that constitute youth vary, the 18 to 35 age group has mostly been regarded as the qualifier.

One thing is certain though and that is the fact that it is an active component of the populations of countries, made up of able-bodied young men and women.

With the present generation of leaders and other senior executives in nation and corporate governance approaching the 'sunset' mark, it is now time for the youths to take over. It's time the grooming process that has been in motion for the past two decades ensured smooth transition -- from the past to the present -- and future generation of leaders.

It is most pleasing to note that in Tanzania, the process has been successful as evidenced in the leadership evolution in most institutions, including the Cabinet, Parliament and Judiciary. We have a crop of brilliant young men and women presently occupying top positions in all pillars of state governance.

The fourth-phase government has taken aboard several bright young men and women in its Cabinet who have already shown flashes of brilliance and ability to perform according to expectations. Realising the immense potential of the youths in addition to spearheading their development, the Commonwealth Secretariat has initiated a programme that aims at creating special councils meant to empower the youths and respond to their needs and aspirations.

As the Vice-President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, observed when opening the Regional Commonwealth Youth Council Consultative Conference in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, young people constitute a vital force in the development agenda of nations.

The proposed Commonwealth Youth Council will be a platform that will represent the voices of the young people, to address such issues as unemployment, drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), juvenile delinquency and prostitution. The countries forming the Club should take cue.

Formation of national youth councils will go a long way towards addressing the immediate challenges the youths are facing and provide the required solutions. Let this process come to fruition and provide guidance that will help mould youths to properly fit in the leadership roles awaiting them. All stakeholders must pool their resources together and ensure success.

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