Why every young Kenyan should support the BBI

Youths following the proceedings at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi during the launch of ‘Kenya ni Mimi’ youth dialogue initiative by President Uhuru Kenyatta on December 7, 2020.  

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Early this week, President Uhuru Kenyatta was hosted by some young Kenyans at the Bomas of Kenya to officially inaugurate a national youth dialogue initiative dubbed, 'Kenya ni Mimi'.

The President and the Ministry of ICT, Innovation & Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru was pictured dancing with the youth. Also in the picture was the Ministry’s Chief Administrative Secretary Nadia Ahmed. The leader of the dance troupe was one Evans Ouma, the ambassador of the dialogue.

The organisers of the event opted for a song by a Tanzanian youth rather one by Kenyans.

President Kenyatta has always had a soft spot for the youth. This time round, he wants to ensure the youth agenda will no longer depend on the temperament and character of the holder of the highest office in the land.

By initiating initiatives like Kenya ni Mimi, and Kazi Mtaani, the President leaves no doubt about his conviction on the centrality of the youth in any nation’s future.

Two seats

But it is in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report and the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that Mr Kenyatta’s real plans for the youth are outlined.

In the Bill, the youth are mentioned 14 times. If the BBI Amendment Bill passes, the youth will be assured of at least two seats at the National Assembly at any given time. But this does not stop young men and women from competing for the rest of the elective slots.

“Article 97 of the Constitution is amended— (a) in clause (1) by— (i) deleting the words “two hundred and ninety” and substituting therefor the words “three hundred and sixty” in paragraph (a). (ii) deleting paragraph (b) and substituting therefor the following new paragraph— “(b) four members, being two women and two men, representing persons with disabilities; (iii) deleting paragraph (c) and substituting therefor the following new paragraphs— “(c) two members, being one woman and one man, representing the youth,” part of the Bill says.

Then there is the provision for an entire youth commission to be engrained in the Constitution of the country.

 Youth affairs

“There is established Youth Commission. (2) The Commission shall consist of the following persons appointed by the President, with the approval of the Senate— (a) a chairperson; and (b) six members, with equal representation of both genders, at least four of whom shall be youth. (3) The members of the Commission shall— (a) include persons with experience in youth affairs and governance; and (b) hold office for a single term of four years.” The Bill adds:

“(4) The functions of the Commission are to — (a) advance the participation of the youth in all spheres of public and private life; (b) ensure the mainstreaming of the youth perspectives in planning and decision making; (c) advise the national and county governments on the design, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes to secure sustainable livelihoods for the youth; (d) facilitate generational mentorship and integration of African traditional values with contemporary youth lifestyles; (e) promote the preservation and dissemination of African morals, traditions and cultures among the young people; and (f) propose legislative, policy and other measures for the attainment of this Article”

There are several reasons why young people in this country should support every initiative to make the country better.

michaelcherambos1@gmail.com

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