INTERVIEW: Call for Africa youth to rise
Posted on Wednesday 9 March 2011 - 08:45
Kent Mensah, AfricaNews editor in Accra, Ghana
A young and dynamic Ghanaian youth activist, Moses Kanduri, is pressing for an appropriate place in governance for African youths in general and Ghanaian youths in particular. He said the youths of the continent can no longer remain as political tools to stoke conflict by power obsessed African leaders but it is about time they rise to defeat the age old notion that they do not amount to nothing. Kanduri granted audience to africanews.com from his New York-base.
Africanews.com: Briefly tell us about yourself
Moses Kanduri: I am an international policy and legal studies student with the City University of New York. I am also alumni of the MALAVE Leadership Academy, and also alumni of the prestigious Salzburg Global Seminar -Austria. Prior to that I worked as the assistant project coordinator for the Ghana Youth Development Network, Youth In Action project sponsored by the World Bank. In 2008, I was a finalist for the Global Innovation Award on sustainable agriculture. Currently, I am a member of a new group of young Ghanaian in the diaspora engage in a new dialogue that is intended to provide Ghanaian youth with a better signal of hope for the future through a comprehensive review of the state of Ghanaian youth development and participation, using the appropriate channel to demand for what rightfully belong to them.
Africanews.com: What are your ambitions?
Kanduri: In the short term, my ambition is to be able to create a clear platform for Ghanaian youth no matter their political affiliation or differences, to discuss issues of national importance that will lead to providing Ghanaians with better living conditions. Considering the fact that Ghanaian youth have become a group used by politicians to achieve their political ambitions, it is my dream to unite the youth and help them to realize their importance in governance and the need for them to take up the challenge to become leaders of the present generation, filled with energy and innovative ideologies to make their communities better.
Africanews.com: Tell us about the New Ghana Youth for Government Movement
Kanduri: The New Ghana Youth for Governance Movement is a group of young Ghanaians including Africans in the diaspora coming together with an aim of providing an alternative leadership to Africa and particularly Ghanaian community. It is a fact that youth make up about 58% of Ghana's voting population yet they have been always seen as a group to be taught but not to teach, a group to receive and not to give, a group to be led but not to lead, but this is a view we as young people cannot simply afford to continuously be guided by.
Africanews.com: What do you make of the revolutions sweeping across North Africa and other parts of the continent?
Kanduri: Like I mentioned in my earlier article, what is happening around the world at the moment is the new world order. The happenings in Tunisia, Egypt, now Libya, Yemen and Sudan are a long awaited call on youth to duty considering the fact that they make up the majority of the world's population (58%) thus below the age of 45. Young people in these countries have come to the realization that, harmonization and galvanizing will create that platform to push for opportunities that will set a stage for better signals of hope for a better life. These activities by young people are an unprecedented move towards creating the change that has been delayed – deeper democracy for all. What is important in all these events is that as young people, however, we need to be reminded that harmonization yields stronger results when properly managed and secondly, leadership belong to the active minds.
Africanews.com: Will you suggest similar uprisings in most African countries for the youth to make their demands known?
Kanduri: If the need be why not. Fortunately, African leaders have accepted democracy and are trying on daily bases to meet the needs of the people. However, in recent time some of these leaders have turned to be corrupt and if this continues, it will gradually call for similar uprisings. An attempt by some of these leaders also to hold onto power for so long will likely result in such uprising, considering the fact that they have been given the mandate by the majority of their people where majority is the youth. An example is Zimbabwe where President Mugabe is holding onto power for so long.
Africanews.com: Explain what you mean by “time for Ghanaian youth to rise for their country” in an earlier statement.
Kanduri: As the country's largest human capital or working force, it is important for the youth to become well equipped to face the current economic and social challenges. None the less, Ghanaian youth has waited too long for government to make their lives better which has not seen any adequate results. We believe that this is the time for the youth to see the power we possess to be able to ask for these opportunities that will provide us the atmosphere for self-economic empowerment if not direct employment opportunities created for us by the Government. But recognizing that the youth has the power to change their own situations, it is time to create a stronger movement that will lead in the liberation of not just the Ghanaian Youth but the entire Africa's youth. We are reminded of the visions of our great leaders such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who believed in the fact that our nation's independence is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of Africa. It is true that independence has been achieved long ago, but the questions we should be asking is whether we are liberated? Our countries total liberation will depend on the opportunities available for young people to be economically empowered and be able to live freely.
Africanews.com: Why did you describe the presidency of Ghana as a retirement package?
Kanduri: Not just the presidency, but including the parliamentary representative, majority of our leaders, in governance is over 60 years old which is supposed to be the age for retirement from active work. But all over Africa of which Ghana is included, majority of its leadership are over 60 years old. We don't think that this should be an accepted norm for leadership. Statistically, Ghanaian presidents in the past regimes have seen people above the 60 years age and this is the time when they are supposed to be relaxing after rendering long service to their country. At age 60, it is expected that one has exhausted his energy and brains hence new brains are needed with the experience guidance of older people.
Africanews.com: How do you intend to solve this issue?
Kanduri: It is important that as a new youth force, we acknowledge the need for these changes that will grant us signals of home for a better future. Once that has been done, we are ready to dialogue with the constitutional review committee to see the need to review the age limit for leadership position or in governance. Initially we will be making an appeal to the review committee hoping that they will listen to the cry of the Ghanaian youth. The alternative will be to mobilize the countries youth to participate in the call for this constitutional review. This alternative will only apply if this appeal is not considered.
Africanews.com: Any final words.
Kanduri: The modernity of the fast moving global world offers us the opportunity to get things done right the first time hence our current opinion leaders should not wait for a second appeal.