As we draw closer to the third election to the National Assembly, which is due to take place in less than a month’s time, it is time for us to take stock of things. This means looking back on the journey we have made together as a nation almost 111 years ago with the establishment of monarchy. This also means looking at where we stand today and what we have achieved as a modern nation state. Too, it is a time when we should look ahead to the kind of future we can shape for our children.

We have come a long way, but the time is now come and because we can and ought to, we must take the elections seriously. They are more than routine democratic exercise. Governments will come and go, of course. What is important is that as responsible and concerned citizens we must elect a party to the government that can take us where we aspire to be. And this means looking at the nation’s economy.

Private sector, often regarded as the driver of the nation’s economy, is yet to be given a new lease of life. Population growth, saturated civil service, and whimpering private sector together have given rise to lack of employment opportunities in the country. Labouring under the delusion, as our politicians are wont to that there are more jobs than jobseekers, will not suffice. Wishing away the issue of rising joblessness in the country will not make the problem go away. In fact, the burden that could result from it will be expensive for the country. On the larger scale, our trade balance leaves a lot to be desired.

That brings us to the reality of how prepared we are to confront the changes that will meet us. The future of this country will require citizens that are not just well educated but also skilled and well-trained individuals. This means focusing on and bolstering science and technical education in the country. It is clear that the subjects we teach in our schools and colleges are not preparing the future guardians of our nation to face new realities. There is a need for a radical change in the way we look at school system and education in their entirety.

There are other priorities, of course, but some of them demand more attention than others in the bigger scheme of things in the country. These are ours.

Last week, His Majesty The King urged the graduates who were attending the National Graduates’ Orientation Programme to remind themselves of three important things – to evolve, adapt and upgrade. The progress we have witnessed over the years has been nothing short of exhilarating and stimulating, but looking ahead with clear vision is knowing how and where we want to be.