By Yussuf Hamza:
Somali University and College students have been asked to be at the forefront in uplifting the socio-economic status of their communities and fight stereotyping in the right way.
Addressing a conference organized by the North Eastern Counties University Students Association (NECUSA) held in Kasarani on Saturday, Kamakunji MP Yussuf Hassan commended the youth for awakening to their historic role in the society.
Hassan reminded the youth that while they come from an underdeveloped and neglected region that is grappling with poverty, hunger, chronic diseases and high illiteracy levels, some of the problems bedeviling the region were self-inflicted and ought to be faced and fought by the locals themselves.
“It is within our power to end the debilitating clan conflicts in our midst. We must work hard to create peace in our communities, to heal the wounds and promote sustainable co-existance and cooperation” said the Kamakunji MP.
The MP asked the youth to seek redress through the right channels instead of resorting to self-destructing ways such as radicalization and violent extremism.
“We have in our midst a growing number of young people who have been radicalized either by socio-economic problems or the injustices they face. But while I fully understand the myriad of problems they encounter in their daily lives, nothing justifies the path and course of action they have chosen to seek redress” he said adding that violent extremism was unacceptable and immoral.
“We must condemn it and stand together with other Kenyans to counter violent extremism. We must banish all forms of extremism and intolerance within and without our community” added Yussuf, himself a victim of violent extremism.
He appealed to concerned parties to address the underlying problems that give rise to resentment and alienation as well as give the youth equal opportunities and justice.
The conference brought together Northern Eastern region’s best minds.
The one day meeting attended by hundreds of students from the region focused on key challenges facing Northern Counties including brain drain and the current crisis in the region’s education sector.
The students also commenced a petition to the government to re-open Garissa University which has remained closed since the April 2 deadly attack in which 147 lives were lost, most of them students.
Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow, former deputy speaker of the National Assembly Farah Maalim, former nominated MP Safia Abdinoor and Chairman of the Eastleigh Bussiness community Ibrahim Hussein among other dignitaries also attended the conference.