What would it mean to have more young leaders in the government

Tanzania is among the youngest nations in the world with the average age of 17 years old. Currently, the Tanzanian government has a total of 48 youth members of parliament out of a total of 391 members. To put this in perspective only 1 in 8 members of parliament is a youth.

Tanzanian youth have little interesting civic matters and as a result they have very limited knowledge on how the government works and of the laws and policies that directly affect their livelihood. However there is no clear framework on how youth affairs can be dealt with because until now the Tanzania Youth Council has not been formed despite the National Youth Development Policy being made back in 1997 and the youth population is underrepresented.

In the research done on Tanzanian youth by the British council in 2016 , only 14% believed that youth civic engagement is an important element towards youth empowerment and  can only be improved through educating youth about politics. The majority of respondents believed that economic liberation is the sole key in  the matter of youth empowerment in the country.

A research done by the International Development Research Centre in 2015 (IDRC) revealed that it takes an average of 5.5 years for Tanzanian youth fresh from university to get a wage job. Also, despite 75% of employment in Tanzania being generated from agriculture youth have very little employment in the sector. If we had more young leaders it would mean that the issues of unemployment and under-employment in youth who make about 34.7% of the population will be given a closer look and in turn greatly improve our economic condition. 

Having youth leaders will propagate the youth narrative in the battle of HIV/AIDs and reproductive health in Tanzania. Youth are the number one actors when it comes to reproduction and sexual relations, therefore issue of population growth and sexual health including fighting the spread of HIV/AIDs are directly linked to them. In is speech deputy minister of Labour, Employment and Youth Hon. Antony Mavunde in December 2018,  every hour about 72 girls from the age of 15 to 24 are infected with HIV. 

Younger members of parliament are known to push for accountability and transparency in the government. These youth leaders are known for their tendency to ask difficult questions and press for answers fearlessly. The Tanzanian parliament has never been in shortage of a youthful voice actively engaging in parliamentary sessions, members such as Hon. Halima Mdee and Hon. John Mnyika are known for stirring up important questions and activate discussions that bring civilian and governance issues to light. In return, this promotes the rule of law, civilian awareness and good governance.

Young leaders are ready to incorporate technology and innovation to find solutions for their societies.  Being born in an era of unprecedented development in science and technology makes youth have a very close and healthy relationship with innovative tools and solutions. A good example is Honorable Catherine Ruge representing the Serengeti constituency who has readily embraced the Data Zetu project to impact her community in championing for gender equality.

The art industry is dominated by the youth and it has been expanding steadily, with the value of art rising and  artistic career options increasing. Unfortunately, artists are receiving no significance assistance from the government. Having youth leaders will mean that a better framework will be established to protect and promote artistic works both internationally and domestically.  Leaders like members of parliament Hon. Joseph Mbilinyi and Hon. Joseph Haule have shown that artists can be taken seriously and have inspired more youth to run for office.

Young people are open to explore solutions and adopt new technologies. Having young leaders means that we can have bold, collaborative and innovative ideas in our national and international policies, ideas that are inclusive and  open to the necessary change in governance.

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