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The Youth Agenda

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22ND FRIDAY, 2015

PRESS STATEMENT

ATTENTION HEAD OF NEWS/EDITOR

THE YOUTH POSITION ON THE TWO THIRDS GENDER RULE AND REPRESENTATION OF OTHER SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS

 

The youth of Kenya led by the National Youth Council (NYC) and representatives of Youth Serving Organizations (YSOs) signed herein are concerned with the continued disregard of the youth in the process of implementing articles 27 and 100 of the constitution by NGEC, CiC, AG, Ministry of Devolution & Planning and Parliament. Whereas we support the two-thirds-gender principle, we will not support any Bill that leaves out the youth and other groups.

 

The Constitution drafters ignored youth proposals for a quota while they granted other interest groups. The National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) that chairs the Technical Working Committee on this issue as directed by the Supreme Court in 2013 has continuously side stepped the issue of youth representation in the whole process. It is so sad that NGEC, a body established to take care of all special interest groups has turned itself into some form of gender directorate and forgotten all other functions assigned to it.

 

All proposals so far in the three bills proposed by various players namely; “The Chepkonga Bill”, “The Mbarire Bill” and “The Neto bill” are all silent on youth representation even though Article 100 which all the three bills heavily rely on states that Parliament shall enact a law to ensure that Women, Youth, Persons with Disabilities, Minorities and the Marginalized are adequately represented at all levels of government. It must be emphasized that you cannot implement article 27 of the Constitution in isolation from Article 100. In fact the Supreme Court’s ruling and the deadline was informed by article 100’s timelines in schedule 5 of the constitution.

 

All the actors in this process should be warned that the youths of Kenya consider it disrespect of the highest order on their continued disregard of the youth in their proposed bills and that we will use all means possible to stop the process until the youth quota is realized.

 

The youth of Kenya constitute 67% of the adult population and is constitutionally entitled to fair representation. It is a hypocritical to only value youths as voting machines and overlook them in every other process. We are not going to accept being relegated to the back waters every time we get to the table of sharing the national cake, resources and opportunities.

 

The youth of Kenya demand not less than 15% of total membership in the county assemblies, National Assembly and the Senate and that no house will be properly constituted without meeting this quota. The current set up where we only have 2 representatives in the senate, national assembly and the county assemblies highly disenfranchises the youth especially in trying to push the youth agenda on the floors of those respective houses. As a result, youth issues have taken a beating as it is literally impossible to get them through. As we speak, Kenya’s youth agenda equation is seriously inverted and in doldrums partly because of lack of sufficient youth representation in county assemblies and parliament.

 

The ministry of Devolution and Planning, the Attorney General (AG), NGEC and Parliament must integrate our demand of 15% youth representation in the formula they are coming up with or we shall be forced to stall the entire process till our pleas are heard and acted upon. We are being magnanimous by asking for 15% looking at the demographics and those concerned should consider that as a sign of goodwill and understanding.

 

We have even provided to the concerned authorities a clear formula on how to achieve the 15% but they stubbornly are ignoring us and telling us to wait. We have heard this waiting story for far too long and we shall wait no more. Give us what you call tomorrow today! Tomorrow is today and NOW.

 

We have proposed that in achieving the not less than 15% youth representation, a three pronged formula be applied and this is simply by a) Increasing seats for the youths through the nominations by political parties based on their proportional representation in parliament; b) Affirmative Action within affirmative action in the not more than two thirds gender rule; Specifically we want 40% of all the seats that will be reserved for women be allocated to women who are youths, 10% to women with disabilities and at least 5% to women from minority and marginalized groups; c) political parties should be compelled in law to ensure that at least 30% of all aspirants they nominate for elections are youth. This will definitely boost the number of youth in leadership.

 

The youth of Kenya call upon KEWOPA to be the true mothers and consider the youths even as they push for women. We also want to ask Kenya young parliamentarians association KYPA and specifically the four parliamentarians who sit in the two houses representing the youth rise to the occasion and ensure that youth representation is enhanced. Otherwise what on earth are they doing in parliament?

Finally to all the youth out there, we are at a critical moment in the history of this nation where youth issues are either an afterthought or addressed decoratively and this trend must be stopped right in its tracks. Nothing in the youth sector is working and we shall be giving direction on the way forward. Thank you and God bless Kenya.

 

Signed:

National Youth Council (NYC), Youth Agenda (YAA), URP-Youth League, ODM-Youth League, ZIYESO, VSL, AYT, World Youth Parliament, Kenyatta University Student’s Organisation, Youth Initiative Kenya, YFC, MOPIC, KHRC, KUFSLA, Youth Senate, Inspiration Kenya, Youth Alive Kenya, TMK

 

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