As we prepare for the local government elections, we are hearing some encouraging news. Local governments have to be strong and efficient if development must reach the rural pockets of the country. Otherwise, the whole purpose of decentralisation of power will be defeated.

We hear that there are even university graduates who will contest in the upcoming local government elections. Times have changed. Young people today are keen to take serious responsibilities and they know that the best way to begin is to start from the ground up. We hope to see more university graduates participating in the next election.

These are signs of positive development happening as our society continues to change. In the past young people did not look at local government the way we appreciate today. Demands of the time were different. Our societal setup did not encourage young people to take part in governance and development in the rural areas.

Today, however, we live in different times. It is important that as the foundation of a successful democracy we strengthen our local governments. What is encouraging about university graduates taking part in the elections is that it will inspire others to do the same. When we have young, energetic and educated leaders at the grassroots level, effecting change or development could be more efficient. Vision, zeal and energy are qualities that every leader must possess.

It could be a useful cue for thousands of university graduates who are looking for employment in the cities. Instead of eyeing for a civil service job and becoming jobless in the end, it may be sensible to go back to one’s roots and participate in the building of communities. When young people are coming forward with dreams to effect change, it is incumbent on us to welcome and support them.

For our democracy to succeed, it is critically important that we strengthen our local governments. Empowering the local governments is, therefore, acutely necessary.