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The future of youth is worth more than ’30 pieces of silver’

By Ben Mokamba | Published Fri, August 17th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 16th 2018 at 23:48 GMT +3

Emerging claims that a section of MPs allegedly received bribes to reject a parliamentary report on contraband sugar reveal a heartbreaking story depicted by greed, betrayal and the indifferent recklessness in which a very crucial issue has been handled.

Sadly, Kenyans have been treated to a rude shock by the level of detachment and the crippling lack of conscience with which the aforementioned report was shot down despite the gravity of its contents and the implications it has.

Admittedly, the implicated parliamentarians forgot the seriousness of the issue - how else can we justify the manner in which justice was subverted?

Sadly, and especially for many young people, it is scary to even imagine that a matter as serious as an investigation on contraband sugar could be treated with such sheer disregard to the point that the health and well being of Kenyans could be bought at a price as little as Sh10,000.

This, coming at a time that our national and collective focus is on the purge against corruption and the war against illicit goods, if indeed the claims are true, depicts a worrying lack of emotional intelligence by the implicated parliamentarians, and perhaps this is why they have been unable to pick the mood of the nation; that corruption is no longer tolerable.

Robustly energetic

Arguably, the deliberate actions of the implicated parliamentarians have far reaching consequences, especially for the youth.

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First, the youth form a very large demographic of this country and these young people are amazingly talented, relentlessly determined and robustly energetic to be a fundamental part of our economic growth and prosperity.

Despite this, the said youngsters are still impressionable; still growing physically, mentally and spiritually.

It is because of this that we should take care what they consume to avert a probable situation that could render them unproductive as a result of health complications.

The shocking revelation that the contraband sugar which was the subject of the report contained harmful levels of mercury is both worrying and shocking.

Sadly, it is Kenyans who have to grapple with the scaring possibility that as we made our tea sweeter during breakfast every morning, we might also have been destroying our bodies, for health practitioners have made it clear that prolonged exposure to harmful levels of mercury has dangerous health implications, including permanent brain and kidney damage.

We can imagine the loss to our economy when our young people who would otherwise be working on their dreams and building the nation are grappling with a possible health crisis that could arguably have been averted if we took cognizance of the consequences of our actions.

Harmful products

A youthful population whose promising future is derailed and cut short by the effects of consuming harmful products cannot be appeased by bribes of Sh10,000.

The added cost to the taxpayer, the strain to the health sector, and the appalling stories of abandoned youthful dreams cannot be justified by any amount of money.

Second, consider other subtle implications that such a story carries with it. To show that we can ‘betray’ the youth with as little as Sh10,000 is to send a message of hopelessness to Kenyans and to reveal how helpless we actually might be in such situations.

It is to show that when their well-being is on the line, as it is now, the lives of the youth will have to pave way for the selfish interests of seemingly powerful individuals and for as little as Sh10,000. It is to show how little we value the future of the young generations and the welfare of our nation.

It is to reveal the coldness with which we easily trade doing the right thing in exchange for short term gains, and to show how dangerous this culture has become.

As the spotlight shifts to the National Assembly to investigate such damning claims, let us not forget that it is the actions of members of institutions that we hold in high regard like Parliament that could restore hope and faith in our nation.

It is by upholding the ethical principles in such institutions, and deliberate consideration of the implications of the actions of powerful institutions like the aforementioned one that could inspire hope in the youth or perpetrate despair.

Mr Mokamba comments on social issues          

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Standardmedia.co.ke


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