Grabbing a Political Career By The Horns
(Krishna Athal has received various leadership initiative awards from national and international bodies. Former chairman of the National Youth Council of Mauritius, he authored the ‘Ramrajya: An Enigmatic Leader’s Rise to Power’ book and is currently an executive member of MSM political party. He can be found on Twitter at @athalkrishna.)
We live in an age where the drive for tertiary education is at an all time high yet the employment opportunities for graduates are at an all time low. We are equipping young people with education, skills, and ambition and yet when it comes time to put those valuable skills to good use – to the good use of our country – there aren’t even sufficient platforms for them to engage with to begin successful careers.
Enter magician Rama Sithanen. I refer to magician because he came out in the midst of election rallying promising he would create thousands of jobs every month for the youth. Again, I say magician because he is clearly privy to something the rest of us aren’t or at the very least has discovered a magical untapped source of jobs to hand out so willingly and generously.
Seriously though. Mauritius is facing a youth employment crisis and it seems as though it is not about to end if the ruling party has thus far failed in its efforts, if any, to create sustainable employment opportunity for the younger workforce which is not showing any signs of slowing in growth either.
So why not create a new platform for the youth? A political platform. The idea that a career in politics is equated to privilege, what is fashionable and some sort of royalty bestowed on those who enter it needs to be promptly dispelled and the reality of a viable career option considered. We are in need of a serious and sustainable mind-set change in terms of politics in Mauritius because let’s face it, the current stock of politicians are not immortal and sooner or later will need to let go of the reins to suitable, qualified, younger candidates. What were to happen if there are simply no interested takers? A vicious cycle is what happens. A vicious cycle of unhappy, unmotivated and disinterested citizens who honestly could care less about the welfare of their society because they are of the opinion that their actions will not change a single thing. And once you have a nation that becomes that apathetic about their affairs, you get governments who seize the opportunity to do exactly what they want, without any ethical boundaries whatsoever.
If we had to look at it in a simpler context, politics is probably one of the easiest careers to get involved in at the moment in Mauritius due to the large loophole that exists in the current system whereby out-dated and often regressive strategies still conquer over innovation and adaptation to the current times.
John F. Kennedy once spoke out on political careers, during election run-ups in the 60s and though we speak of the 60s, in this sense, the idea and the context within its existence can and should apply today. He noted that when people possess strong public opinion about matters relating to their country, that government service seemed the best way to translate this interest into action. And that is the very crux of the matter.
The youth hold a very strong card in their hand whether they are aware of it or not. This card is not to be the loudest shouters of injustice or biggest rebels in society to prove a point. They are a generation who has the most access to information at the fastest rate. They are able to shape opinions after consulting many different sources that either support their claims or dispel them. But either way, there is information and ideas available to them for them to be the change makers. There is no shortage of ideas facing our youth. Every day we hear of incredible young people who act on their interests to make change happen even in the smallest of ways. But the fact that they act often causes others around them to do exactly the same, producing a positive chain effect that results in physical change and innovation. Look at Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai who at 17 years old became the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
How wonderful would it be if our youth realised just how powerful their interest in public matters could result in? If they went from simply talking about change and political realignment and in fact acted on it? It is with this that I once more insist that the youth take time to seriously consider getting into a political career.
It is not about power and how far you can manipulate it to suit your situations. It is not about playing situations and people against one another in order to push your own agenda. It is certainly not about whom you align with in order to secure your own seat and ultimately wellbeing at the end of the day either. Or rather, it shouldn’t be. Realistically we understand that politics has become synonymous with playing dirty, power games, corruption and often abuse in many forms but why not break the cycle? Why not encourage our youth into formidable political careers they can be proud of and make successes out of themselves with?
Let’s stop hindering them and limiting the youth to university political involvement that really only exists as a mock of the real arena. Why not see the political arena as a job platform with political studies and curriculum geared towards its development and sustainability?
The fact remains that a political career can be a fulfilling and challenging one that has the potential to mould our youth into formidable, successful citizens. Why can’t the same positive points of being a successful businessperson be attributed to political careers if the same hard work and dedication is put into it?
The time for change is upon us and it is time for the youth to make their voices heard! It’s an honour to witness the MSM party providing this platform for the young people of Mauritius.