What you need to know:
- Council leaders appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta not to assent the Bill because it does not capture the interests of the youth.
- The delegates also said the amendment are not clear on how nominations will be carried out from the grassroots.
National Youth Council delegates on Friday protested amendments of the Amendment Bill 2019 which was passed in parliament on Thursday.
Elected delegates from Nairobi and Tharaka Nithi said the Bill, which was sponsored by nominated MP Gideon Keter, fails to capture the spirit of a youth-representative body.
Speaking to the media in Nairobi, Gaddaffi Isiavale, a delegate member from Nairobi, appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta not to assent the Bill because it does not capture the interests of the youth.
He also said the Bill does not addressed the contents of the memorandum, which seeks to make the NYC a body of the youth, by the youth and for the youth.
“We want to appeal to the president not to assent to this Bill that is meant to deny the youth the opportunity to elect their leaders at the National Youth Council. We are aware of interests from the current CEO of the Council and the PS in the ministry who want to bring their people on board,” said Mr Isiavale.
According to Isiavale, the CEO of NYC, Mr Roy Sasaka Talewa and the PS in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Julius Korir, as the key parties in working out on how the council election were to be held, ended up sponsoring the Bill, through Mr Keter, to deny young people the opportunity to elect their representatives.
Done in bad faith
“We want to categorically state that the amendments were done in bad faith and they are meant to kill democracy and good representation that we have long fought for. Allowing individuals who are not youth to make appoints is contrary to the purpose of the council’s establishment,” he added.
The Council has elected youth representatives across the country.
Ms Anne Muthoni Mbaabu, a delegate from Tharaka Nithi County, said assenting the Bill would kill the Council.
“The council has critical role of representing and championing youth issues in the country. If no proper mechanism is put in place then indeed we will be killing the Council, which is the only legal body where youth can channel their grievances and also feel represented,” she said.
According to Ms Mbaabi, the Council as is, promotes independent participation of the youth in the Council.
She said having members nominated by the Executive, rather than elected by the public, undermines the independence of the members and that of the Council as a whole.
She cited cases of democratic countries, where members of youth councils or their equivalent entity, are democratically and voluntarily elected by the youth.
“Why then, would the Kenyan Parliament pass a Bill that proposes nomination of youth members into the Council by the Executive? Is there foul play? Do they have malicious intentions?” she posed.
The delegates also said the amendment are not clear on how nominations will be carried out from the grassroots.
The delegates are now demanding for an election that will put in office leaders who are capable of representing them, failure to which they will seek legal redress in court.
National Youth Council (NYC) is a body corporate established in pursuant to the Kenya National Youth Council Act 2009, to act primarily as the bridge, mediator, official voice and negotiator of youth of Kenya.
The council is tasked with, among other responsibilities, regulating and coordinating activities and interventions undertaken by youth and youth serving organizations.