Technology has fitted the entire world into a large screen TV. From within the spaces we live in, whether Africa, Asia, Europe, or the Americas, young people are in step with information. Young people make deductions from massive loads of information streamed to us from our television sets, our mobile devices, and social media. We are watching life happen in real time. And what we see hardly brings us hope. We did not find it strange to witness a succession of civil disobedience breaking out from one continent to another, from country to country, and state to state. It played out before our eyes like a wild-wild-west movie script. These things are not coincidences or happenstances – no, they are a direct reflection of how young people perceive their world and react to it. Young people are disappointed with leadership and institutions. There is no trust.
In a system where trust exists, the structures created to run the society can be relied on. In a system where trust exists, leaders are held accountable, and transparency is the order of the day. In a system where trust exists, institutions are ethically bound to serve their constituents and provide environments for their people to thrive. In a system where trust exists, the young people would have role models, icons of leadership, and templates to aspire to. In a system where trust exists, corruption is minimal, negligence is an occasional error, and lawbreakers are brought to book regardless of status, class, or influence. Alas, we are lacking such a system.
In our world today, young people have been taken for granted. Leaders make promises and go to sleep on them. Several things have been chanted through time such as “giving the Youth a chance” but have Youth been given chances in governance? No, many have had to fight or beg or grovel for a space in political decision making, a place at the table of national development, and a stake at nation building. These things ought not to be so. We have often heard that “Youth are the leaders of tomorrow” but when will that tomorrow come? The author, Sidney Sheldon, did warn that “tomorrow never comes.” Our leaders and institutions have chosen to forget that as they grow older so do, we. Promises said when we were still rocked in our cradles should no longer remain promises when we are now strong and able to vote, hold a job, and lead teams. It is common knowledge that the world celebrates a 35-year-old in mainstream politics like it was the preserve of the aged. With such young people in politics paraded as novel and odd, is not that a confirmation that the institutions are setup to keep us infantile forever? For why should a 35-year-old who is old enough to cater for a family be viewed as young in governance? These matters are worrying to the under 24-year-olds.
What do these developments say to young people all over the world? It says you may have to fight for what you want. You cannot trust your leaders to train and mold you into leadership. You cannot trust the institutions to leave up to their mandate. No one is holding anyone accountable, why then should you live up to any expectation of civility? The system has not bothered to create room for your ingenuity, your creativity, your industry, and willingness towards patriotism – why should you believe anymore in your abilities for what good would that do? These are the damaging echoes in the minds of many young people the world over. These are the thoughts producing the actions of civil disobedience and unrest.
We need to rebuild the trust. We cannot continue to live in a world fast becoming a jungle of hate and murder. We cannot keep casting blames without a chance at forgiveness and change. This is the reason for this event. Let us move past the damaging trend to creating a new trend that starts us on the journey of accountability for leaders, institutions, and us – young people all over the world.