I am often disappointed at the way youths of today are being treated. Youths have contributed largely to our recent past civil war that ravaged the beauty of our beloved country. They maimed, killed and chopped arms of innocent people.
Sometimes, I am made to believe that, such actions were as a result of the influence they got from the political class, who were in want of political power. Do we actually need to cast blame on politicians for the evil deeds of other people? Anyway, I am often shocked and left to ponder, wanting to know what the future holds for the youths of this country.
This seeming disappointment on my part is as a result of the fact that, despite the lessons we aught to have learnt from the eleven years civil carnage, our political elites are yet to accept that, more should be done to address issues concerning the youths . No need denying the fact that, the development of any country depends on its youthful population. The youths of today constitute a larger percentage of the population of Sierra Leone.
It is high time political rhetoric is brought to an end, especially with promises that, we would do this or that to salvage the youths from their current predicament. Granted that, promises are often made with the view of fulfilling them, the fact remains that, until, and unless, concrete actions are taken, we (youths) would ever remain where we are.
The decision to merge the Ministry of Education to that of Youths and Sports is not prudent (from my point of view) as issues concerning the youths would not be addressed fully. Practically, what is now happening is that the Education Minister pays more attention to issues concerning Education and Sports, leaving the area of Youths unattended.
A government is most often elected on the platform of creating jobs for its citizens; and in this particular case, providing jobs for the youths. Hundreds, if not thousands of youths, mostly graduates, or would-be graduates, are everyday, roaming the streets of Freetown, in search of jobs. One wonders, if those with qualifications are parading the streets in search of jobs, what about those who are not qualified? They are doomed, to say the least.
More over, job creation must not be done based on political affiliation, but rather on merit; as what used to happen in this country should not be repeated, when jobs were (and are still) offered on the basis of political affiliation. When our leaders were elected, it was borne out of the desire of the people to see that, they serve the interest of all, irrespective of the political divide.
As Mr. President said recently during the State Opening of Parliament, ‘youths are the pillar of our democracy and development. They have accomplished much to warrant the respect and support of my government’, but that support, I am yet to see and feel. The thousands of unemployed youths who sacrificed their political votes for this government are seemingly neglected, either out of sheer wickedness, or what, I can’t tell”.
Indeed Mr. President the youths did all they can to vote you in into office and as such even the “cassette sellers, bike riders, the disabled and other youths have formed themselves into formidable organizations to earn a living and contribute to societal development. They came in their numbers to vote and by that singular action, announced that the time has come for a change of leadership in the affairs of the country”, Mr. President, these were your words at the State Opening of Parliament
Mr. President you said, your “government would soon lay before this house the bill for the establishment of a National Youth Commission which would serve as the institutional base for designing, coordinating and leading government’s youth Programmes”. The formation of a Youth Commission should be in direct response to ameliorating the current problems of the youths. You know for sure that the ‘youths need jobs’ and your have said, your “government will continue to work very hard to ensure that youths are employed”.
Mr. President, the creation of the National Youth Commission must be sustained by the provision of the needed resources to make the commission viable and productive. Plans must be made to ensure not only the actualization of that commission but its success as well.
It is good that, the government is currently engaging the Peace Building Fund for the ‘implementation of an agricultural project that would employ over fifteen thousand youths. The National Commission for Social Action is undertaking a sustainable youth project to build the entrepreneurial skills of hundreds of young people’ Mr. President, the youths want job and your government must make the necessary provision.
It is not just the issue of creating a Youth Commission. Take a look at the Commission for War Affected Children. Though, in real sense the Commission has outlived its usefulness, they were never provided with the needed resources, both human and financial. As a result, little was ever heard of that Commission, which was principally headed by Bintu Magona of blessed memory.
As you are reading this piece, you may have recalled the plight of our children that were affected by the war, and it was therefore unimaginable that, there was a Commission responsible for them; though it was even seen as duplication of efforts, as there was a Ministry in charge of Children’s Affairs. Therefore, even as we look forward to the creation of a National Youth Commission, we are hopeful, that it would meet the needs and expectations of the youths for a brighter future. Also the commission must be able to perform its functions independently.
By John Baimba Sesay 077838457