The below extract is part of the conversation during Africa Drive for Democracy. In this discussion, Ms Judie Kaberia interviewed President Kikwete on the question of reaching and building the capacity of youth in Africa.
Question: And one of the things that we know we are getting young people is when we talk about technolog, I know Ticktock and all that doesn’t make sense. But this is where we are finding the young people. So How can we use technology to increase the participation of the younger people not just to vote but also to participate for leadership? And of course, that issue you are talking about is generation and how will the older generation can be able to pass that knowledge in the manner that young people understand for us to breed a group of young leaders for the future.
Kikwete :Is not an easy question to answer. I think First of all it is important for every society to find ways of grooming it’s young population so that they can become good, responsible, and productive citizens. If It is to, if that will necessarily mean leaders using Ticktock to do… that but I think we need to have more serious ways.
I think the first thing is to make sure that young people get a good education. That is what is going to make them become productive citizens. If they are well, they have got a good education they have good skills then they can become productive citizens. And this again is a factor or a function of the education system that we have. But that’s one, but if it is a question you only think about mobilizing them for elections let then you could talk of mobile phone, messages and so forth.
But it is much more than that, it much more than that, how as a nation and of course as nations but more so are the political parties, the political parties, because I can take my own personal experience that I have been an activist in school, at university but what brought me into the mainstream of a national politics is when our party decided that this highest policy making and decision making organ of the party it should also have young people in it, It should of the representation of women
Because prior to that it was just elections, every region elects one person to be a member of the national executive committee and the central committee but there was this deliberate decision taken in 1992, they decided five seats for young people and ten seats for women. This is what gave an opportunity for some of us now to move in. Had it not been for that, I would have remained in the barracks or I would have remained a government official or a party official.
And it is through this line that we were able now, I was able to become a member of the national executive committee but also within the youth movement of the party itself.
Because I can say through that youth movement I became President, Anna Makinda became speaker of the national assembly, Abdulrahman Kinana became the speaker of East Africa Legislative Assembly and the Minister of Defense. We have so many of those who were in the youth wing of the party where actually that is where a lot of the grooming and training of young people actually was happening.
So that is where, where you have to use a methodology, but otherwise the Ticktock , and in Ticktock there is so much, some of this actually they are not even worthwhile, they are not even worthwhile they derail the thinking of young people. And these days they even preach some of the things that we consider in our African culture and traditions as blasphemous but the western culture consider them as human rights.
So I think you know we need to do that how in country you establish youth councils where you involve young people, they participate in these institutions but at the same time the elders are there guiding them, mentoring. So I say let’s invest in education and the education that is taking our nation in the modern world, artificial intelligence, digital education jobs are being lost to automation now.
If our young people do not get the correct education they will have no place in the job market. Even cars now do not have drivers. You just order a car through Uber. A car comes there, you look inside there is nobody but you just enter the car, the car has already been programmed the car can take you to where you are going. So you can see drivers will lose jobs yes now a lot of the work that is being done by accountancy is done by machines.
How do we prepare our young people, now to be able to have a place by 2050, that is another important thing. So there is a lot that we have got to do. Countries have to sit down and think how to groom their young population, give them the skills that are going to make them thrive in the world but also make them responsible citizens, responsible reproductive citizens in the society.