By Roy Hezron
Principal Secretary in the State Department for University Education and Research Amb. Simon Nabukwesi has challenged the youth to be in the forefront of promoting peace and shunning violence during the forthcoming general elections.
Addressing university students drawn from both public and private universities at the University of Nairobi on June 24, 2022 during the 4th National student convention on youth, peace and election and launch of the 47 days of peace campaign, Amb. Nabukwesi noted that the youth, who form the bulk of the population, have a crucial role to play in determining the future of the country when it to comes elections conduct.
“You are the initiators of change, we want to attain a democratic process so that in future we do not look at elections with anxiety” said Amb. Nabukwesi.
He added that we should strive not to be seen as a society that can flip into violence during elections therefore scaring away investors during electioneering periods.
The PS asked the youth to emulate those in developed countries such as America who look at the government as themselves and not as government.
He discouraged the youth from allowing politicians to use them to instigate violence but instead work with relevant government agencies and report any cases of electoral violence especially in the hot spot areas identified by the IEBC.
“Let us reflect on the past and project on the future as we wish to see a peaceful country” said the PS.
He asked the IEBC to recruit university students as election peace observers so as to achieve the desired impact.
He further urged the Commission to put in place mechanisms so as to avail information and data for regions where conflict is prone to prevent any eventualities.
Regarding university education, Amb. Nabukwesi discouraged students from engaging in certificate fraud by acquiring fake degrees which they can’t defend in future.
“The practice creates a negative image for the country,” he added.
Universities and Colleges Students Peace Association of Kenya (UCSPAK), through the State Department for University Education and Research, has developed a programme that will highly contribute to peace and cohesion in institutions of higher learning especially during the electioneering period.
The association has signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Through this MoU, UCSPAK will lead the countrywide implementation of youth activities in the Universities, Colleges & TVETS.
UCSPAK has also partnered with the National Cohesion Integration Commission to promote peace in institutions of higher learning.
Their main objective this year is to ‘Enhance Peace and Electoral Knowledge among Young People in the Institutions of Higher Learning in Kenya’.