Obama calls on African youth to be agents of change
|Wednesday, August 4,2010 13:31|
Transparency, employment, rights advocacy and technology were some of the issues on the agenda of President Obama’s Forum with Young African Leaders which was structured around three themes including good governance, economic opportunity, and youth empowerment.
The President Welcomed more than 100 young Africans to the White House for the forum marking 50 years since 1960 when many former colonies on the continent gained their independence, wishing them well and emphasizing that he hoped some of them would end up being leaders of their respective countries some day.
He slammed leaders who came into power and refused change describing it as oppression and intolerant behaviour adding "When you’ve been in power for a while, you say ‘Well, I must be such a good ruler, that it’s for the benefit of the people that I need to stay here . He added cautioning "then you start changing the laws, and intimidating and jailing opponents pretty soon, young people just like yourselves, full of hope and promise, end up becoming exactly what they fought against".
He called on the youths present to be open to change and reform asserting that the peaceful transfer of power, and the notion that people always have a voice, is a democratic process which has to be embraced in the African countries as well.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed suit with her address urging the younger generation to empower average people claiming that information technology will “blow the doors down” on repressive governments.
Similarly Clinton had previously called on Egypt 's regime to revoke its renewed "Emergency Law' which was renewed in May under the pretext that it was supported to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. Authorities in Egypt however have given the green light to the interior Ministry which employs its state security apparatus to intimidate and arrest and target members of the political opposition mainly the Muslim Brotherhood who remain detained indefinitely particularly as elections approach.
The MB have been recently engaged in promoting their online petition with collaboration with the NAC and IAEA chief Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei calling for 7 demands for reform collecting over 380,000 signatures on its website. However the campaign has not been met lightly as security arrest and detains 15 MB members who involved in advocating the campaign which was launched by the MB chairman Dr. Mohamed Badie.