To coincide with the International Youth Day, this issue focuses on the contribution of the youth to the development of their respective nations and factors that militate against their participation in nation building. We also chronicle various ways in which political parties have used the youth to unleash violence on their opponents.
In Kenya, the political landscape has over the years been dominated by the old guard at the expense of young blood. The few youthful leaders who have made it owe their success to their parents who, at one or another, held influential positions in the government. Writer Fred Oluoch further argues that the few youthful leaders in parliament have been a disgrace to the electorate owing to their outbursts.
The good news coming from Swaziland is that the kingdom’s youth have resorted to abstinence as the only way to escape infection from HIV/AIDS, given the kingdom’s high prevalence rate. As James Hall reports, this is a positive step that could lead to a decline in new infections.
From Malawi, Charles Banda reports that the young democrats, a youth wing of the ruling United Democratic Front [UDF] has been used by previous regimes to unleash violence on political opponents and human rights activists. Critics are now questioning whether they are truly young democrats or outright mercenaries.
A controversial youth training programme in Zimbabwe continues to attract controversy, with allegations that the ruling party uses graduates of this programme to harass its opponents. Rodrick Mukumbira has the story.