"WE CAN TAKE OVER LEADERSHIP BY 2012"
Youth Leaders in Meru and Kajiado Counties Challenged
By: Emmanuel Dennis 1st November 2010
In the quest to mobilizing young people across the country to prepare their arsenal for national leadership, an action packed week characterized the activities in Meru County on Wednesday 27th October and Kajiado County on Saturday 30th October 2010 respectively. Two counties in one week, National Leaders from various Organizations joined hands to support organized grassroots empowerment forums in the two counties. The Forums were held at the need of self organizing for change at community level, the young people of MERU and KAJIADO brought together by the fact that the older generation of leaders had failed in uplifting the positive agenda of their communities at national level, decided to come together to chart the way forward for the country.
Inspired by a declaration to bring together the youth networks in the over 7 Constituencies, the Meru County Youth Forum brought together over 100 participants in Meru Town, while the Kajiado County Youth Forum brought together 140 youth leaders at the Isinya District Headquarters. 240 the number of Youth Leaders who attended the Forums.
The Meru County's Forum purpose was to interrogate the place of the youth of Meru County around Social, Economic, Leadership, Good Governance and the Constitution. The Kajiado Forum focused on organizing the youth leadership around matters affecting them at local and national level into a powerful force that will change the way of running business themed "Towards a youthful society in our days". The youth organized themselves, raised resources on their own and invited the national leaders to facilitate key themes on the program.
Some of the Key youth leaders from the National leaders who joined hands to engage with the participants of the two forums were the YES Kenya Network, URAIA's National Civic Education Program, the Conveners of the VuguVugu Mashinani movement, KENGO network, Madaraka Party, the National Youth Convention, alumni of the PLDP, the Citizens Anti Corruption Watch, Makadara Youth Network, UCAHA, KCDN, Fahamu Kenya among others.
Peter Ngure and Emmanuel Dennis Pictured Presenting Tshirts to the Meru County Youth Leaders
Presentations made by various speakers at the two fora touched on the need of the youth to realize the opportunity that we have using our numerical strength and recently released census results that estimates the youth population at a staggering 80% of the total population to make sure we rise up to the occasion and ensure we lead this country at all levels. The local youth also challenged themselves and vowed to unite as a county and start addressing the leadership challenges that bedevil them.
The young generation has been fighting for the good of this nation but resource allocation to the largest cohort of the population has been limited. The youth must start to ask the difficult questions to the leaders to feel the heat of accountability and transparency.
The New Constitution: The young leaders were challenged to acquire basic understanding of the Constitution schedule of implementation and make sure that many young people present their cases for representation and that the institutions set to oversee the implementation do the rightful job as proscribed by the constitution. The Leaders were challenged to take the chances and opportunities available to seek knowledge and skills that will uplift their livelihoods and stop complaining and shouting at the status quo leadership that was on its sunset years.
The Youth Leaders in Song and Dance During the Forum
On the National Youth Council: The leaders were asked to be vigilant and press for a democratic process of electing the representatives that will have a lasting impact in the institution that will be regulating and coordinating the affairs of youth organizations in Kenya. They were also challenged to make sure that the guidelines in electing NYC officials conform to the new constitution.
Whistle Blowing on Corruption: The participants identified many of the scandals that had been the epitome of the successive governments. The older generation had perfected the act of ensuring that the country does not progress by ensuring that public resources are only a preserve of a few individuals vested with the responsibility of taking care of the public funds.
The Green Teams Initiative: The participants got an opportunity of being presented the Green Teams vision that seeks to engage young people in green value chains and economically empower the young people. They were taken through various possibilities within the Green Teams vision and specific value chains that the youth in Meru and Kajiado Counties can tap into. The leaders of the groups were asked to organize the membership into entrepreneurs to receive proper training as a follow up to the meeting.
One of the Horticulture Projects that the Green Teams Initiative is Supporting in Kitui County.
Opportunities for the Youth in the Constitution: In a very enlightening statistical presentation of the opportunities that young people should look out for in the new constitution; the following facts were presented to the participants to ponder about and make informed decisions; 2,923 opportunities in the legislature, 616 opportunities in the executive, 1500+ Opportunities in the Judiciary, 100+Opportunities in the public service.
The youth leaders were informed that the Equalization Fund as espoused in Article 204 Will be available for the devolved government and that it would only serve the people right if the youth were vigilant.
On the opportunities presented by the vision 2030, the youth were encouraged to make sure that they audit its operation and make sure that they are part of the implementation process.
Staying with the Issues: The youth leaders were challenged to make sure they acquire the necessary information about the leadership of the country to hold their leaders accountable by engaging them on issues. The Leaders were reminded that given the statistics that out of 14 million registered voters, those aged under 35 constitute 11.6 Million making the youth a large number that can marginalize the status quo and decide the future of Kenya in the next general election. The Leaders of the Vugu Vugu Mashinani promised to work with grassroots initiatives and disseminate information to the young people in the country so that they can engage and get empowered to run the affairs of their communities.
11.6 Million The number of registered voters under the age of 35 old who could change the tide of elections in 2012.
In Kajiado, a youthful District Officer One who also attended the forum encouraged the youth to get information and use it to their benefit. He advised the youth leaders to desist from illicit brews and other harmful drugs and lead healthy livelihoods.He committed to work with the youth network for the development in the District.
Conclusion: The participants saw the need to start reworking on their vision for the country and their place in the national agenda. It was clear that using our numerical strength; we could rise up and take over important decision making organs of governance of the republic of Kenya. The only challenge is to find the common unity and trust to support each other and take on the challenge. One of our strategies is to also encourage the youth in the civil service to start engaging with the rest of Kenyans in bringing the desired change.
Similar activities are underway and young people in the counties are encouraged to organize themselves and host similar activity with support from like minded youth based organizations and movements at the national level.
YES Kenya, the Green Teams Initiative and Vuguvugu Mashinani would like to send their gratitude to the youth leaders from the Meru and Kajiado County for making these events a success. We welcome other organizations and movements to join us as we move to cover the 47 counties across Kenya. Special Thanks go to Chris Kinyua of Meru County and Nicholas Soikan of IDEYS and the Olkeju Self Help Group in Kajiado County for leading the processes and organizing the groups on the ground for the meetings.