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The Youth Agenda

 

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With the deadline for the actualization of the constitution Articles 100 fast approaching this August as prescribed under the 5th schedule the real question is whether legislators will wait till the last minute to draft, debate and pass a bill on youth inclusivity.

Youth inclusion has been an issue that is often debated on the fringes without any real or technical framework on how to institute these grand ideas; Frankenstein my friends has not yet risen! Heck we don’t even have a youth policy in place! Out of 198 countries 121 have instituted a youth policy- that’s 61% and we are not even amongst this forward movement; Oh Just so you know, Kenya has now moved to a middle income country meaning this should be the sign of a nation willing to foster inclusivity and address young people’s needs, demands and aspirations.  For us young people the challenge is to continue advocacy and push for the institution of our rights as enshrined in the constitution.

In this light, Youth Agenda is currently holding consultations with various stakeholders to ensure that the resultant legislation come August; does not short change the youth or anyone else for that matter.

So before we delve into this lets just take stock: Article 55 of the CoK 2010 state that the government should take measures including affirmative action programs to ensure participation of the youth in all spheres of life that includes access to economic opportunities, political, education & other  social opportunities. When this is read with Article 100 it means that government should promote participation & representation of the youth in parliament as well. Sounds good huh? Well that’s not all… the bigger picture really (in my humble opinion)  is if we could band up this new proposed legislation on inclusivity so that Art 55 & 100 are also read together Art 27 on equality.

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Isn’t this what we really all want? Not to be left out of the sharing of the national cake; so why don’t we just break off our sector groups- Youth, women, PWDs marginalized communities; truth is the reason we have this in the constitution in the first place is that we all felt so left out! I mean women are youth, youth are PWD, women are from marginalized communities- there is no fine line on how involve these groups without being exclusive and discriminatory- not in the spirit and letter of the constitution.

What I’d like to see come August 2015 is a well thought out law on how to ensure equality and inclusion for young people regardless of whether they are women, or PWDs or from marginalized communities.

As we move forward- and closer to the August deadline Youth Agenda continues to work with the Ministry of Devolution’s Youth Affairs Directorate; who by the way are taking this matter up with serious zest and valor as well as the Constitution Implementation Committee (CIC) whose advise and wisdom on the implementation of the constitution on this particular matter has been invaluable.

Even as we march onwards for this legislation we must also take into push forward with the formulation of a youth policy that will ensure sound legal and policy frameworks that will address youth interests.

 

*Youth Agenda in partnership with Uraia Trust is supporting efforts aimed at  Actualizing Article 55b of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

 

 

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