BY MARTYN NAMORONG
IN THIS, THE second part of his talk, Father John Glynn focuses on the Youth Against Corruption Association. YACA is an association that aims to give to be a forum for youth voices on corruption and to enhance leadership potential and personal integrity.
It was founded in 2003 by Father John, and remains the only group run by students for students, with Father John as its patron. There are challenges that the group faces in terms of organisational leadership but its survival down the years is testament to the desire of young people to have a forum to debate and discuss issues that matter to them.
I was a member of YACA during secondary school and led the association in my first year at university. The three core values that underpin YACA, are honesty, integrity and good citizenship.
Perhaps the most striking statement in the discourse below is what Father John sees as mere tokenism when current leaders refer to young people as “future leaders”. He states:
When leaders speak to groups of young people such as YACA members they love to call them ‘leaders of the future’, knowing full well that they are not the leaders of the future - they are the sheep of the future. As sheep they will continue in ignorance and complacency to tolerate and ignore the serious illnesses in our society that give our leaders the freedom to be corrupt, and to exploit the resources of our country for their own benefit.
And so, with this in mind, I present the rest of what Father John had to say:
YACA - the Youth Against Corruption Association - has a basic aim. It is to empower young people - to fill the vacuum created by a corrupt system that has nothing to say to young people, and that has nothing to offer them or to teach them. Members of YACA have a starting point for principles and a philosophy that can lead to the empowerment of Youth. It is the YACA Pledge. By turning your back on all the attitudes that empower our corrupt leaders, and by refusing to join in their corruption, you are undermining the basis for their freedom to practice corruption.
YACA provides an opportunity for young people to educate and inform themselves on the issues that affect us all so much; education, health, law and order, poverty and unemployment, the principles of democracy, good governance, civic responsibility, and all those similar topics that are not spoken about by leaders, and are not taught in schools.
YACA has always been seen as something for school kids - not to be taken seriously by tertiary students or young adults. When Leaders speak to groups of young people such as YACA members they love to call them ʻleaders of the futureʼ, knowing full well that they are not the leaders of the future - they are the sheep of the future. As sheep they will continue in ignorance and complacency to tolerate and ignore the serious illnesses in our society that give our leaders the freedom to be corrupt, and to exploit the resources of our country for their own benefit.
It is my prayer and my hope that one day soon some young persons will come along who have a clear vision of our country and its ills, and who will take ownership of YACA and use the organisation as a means to inspire, motivate and empower our youth and set them on a pathway to change.
I strongly urge all of you young people to take hold of YACA - to take ownership of YACA - to be inspired by the principles enshrined in the Pledge and to get organised. Your organisation and leadership is the only hope that this nation has for a continuing free and democratic society.
Your country needs you!