SPEECH BY H.E. MARGARET KENYATTA DURING THE OPENING OF THE 7TH ANNUAL NATIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS LEADERS CONFERENCE

On October 12, 2018 In Statements and Speeches

Young Leaders, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am truly delighted to be among such an inspiring gathering of young leaders. I have no doubt in my mind that with you, our country’s future is bright, and that you will steer Kenya to further progress and development. The country’s future lies in your hands. This is why we lay great emphasis, as a nation, on ensuring there is a solid legacy and firm foundation set for our youth to take advantage of and spur the country to greater heights. Leadership and mentorship training programmes must start at an early age. Which is why this forum is of utmost importance to the development of a crop of young leaders who will exercise the responsibility bestowed upon them with dignity and integrity. The current social, economic and political state of the world leaves a lot to be desired and paints a picture of great uncertainty. The global moral fabric has deteriorated greatly and our youth are finding it increasingly difficult to find good leadership to emulate. We need to re-examine our positions as leaders and realise that we need to provide good role models to our young people if we are to safeguard the future of our country. My challenge to you, young leaders, is to urge you to work hard and score good grades in your class work. This will ensure that you are not only leaders in the social space but also in academics. Future leaders, HIV and AIDS continue to destroy the lives of our youth. As leaders, be at the forefront in the fight against this scourge. Also fight alcohol, drug and substance abuse amongst our youth. Many of you gathered here have probably come into direct contact with a victim of drug or alcohol abuse. As you empathise with those addicted, think also about solutions to combat addiction, and how you can rehabilitate the victims to normal life. Also of grave importance are retrogressive cultural practices such as FGM and early, forced marriages which have destroyed the lives of many of our girls. You need to strongly advocate an end to such social ills. Remember that leadership is about sacrifice, and you need to learn early that culture is dynamic, and that, at times, it is more important to discard certain cultural practices if we are to liberate future generations for the sake of progress. I wish to conclude by saying that the future of our country heavily depends on your actions, both now and in the future. Do not allow tribe, religion, colour, gender or even political affiliation to divide you. Shun discrimination of any kind. When we make the commitment to embrace these values, we shall have a country we can All be proud of. This has to be a personal decision from each one of you. It now gives me great pleasure to declare the 7th Annual National Secondary Schools Students Leaders Conference officially open. Thank you.

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