Theme: Effective legislative for sustainable grassroots development.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 9.00am but with the security checks and safety points put in place as well as the registration processes, the conference kicked off at 10.30 am.

The meeting kicked off with a word of prayer from both the Christian and Islamic faiths and later on the National anthem was sung. The 1st session was moderated by Mr. Mohamed Ali (senior Deputy Clerk, the Senate) where he welcomed the first speaker, MCA Nyeri representing Mr.Dishon Atemo, CEO, National Youth Council. After a brief introduction of herself she gave a quick remark on the performance of the Senate within the devolution government where is stated that;The Senate has been present for the youths within the devolution system.

The second speaker to be invited to the podium was Sen. Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. (Senator Makueni County).

Senator Mutula Kilonzo

On a lighter note he expressed how his first moments at the Senate were, and how the house termed him as ”kijana kwa nyumba ya wazee”. Claiming he was not experienced and what the house forgot was this position was new and no one was more experienced in it than the other. What he put out was nobody is young to lead. In his presentation, he put out major key points:

  • The youth agenda has been hijacked by selfish individual who do not fall in this youth category all for personal gains and political interests;
  • The youth are 65% of the population, why are they in the affirmative agenda of only 30%? He urged the young to demand for what is rightfully theirs;
  • He gave a statistic of Kenyan Senate which has more young senators in 165 countries, with Kenya coming second after Bhutan;
  • He finally urged the youths not to wait for the populace who don’t fall into the bracket of the youth to champion their agenda while they sit back and wait for the outcome, which is disastrous. Reclaim the space that’s for the youth.

The third speaker was Hon. Johnson Osoi (Chairperson, County Assemblies Forum)

Hon. Johnson Osoi

He spoke on how devolution has improved or influenced youth agenda. Like is fellow speakers he confirmed that the 30% affirmative action allocated to the youth is certainly not enough, and as we are coming to an electioneering time, the youth should look back to where they have come and refuse to be used by those politicians who are not anywhere in this youth bracket for their personal gain.

He advised the youth to stand up and set agendas as the young and occupy serious positions of decision making and policy formulations. He confirmed that devolution has reduced the gap of marginalization which has lived Kenyans for many years, where youths in places like Tana River and Mandera can now take part in governance system because the objective of devolution provides that in the grassroots.

The fourth speaker to the podium was Rt. Hon. Ekwee Ethuro , EGS, EBS, (Speaker of the Senate)

Hon. Ekwe Ethuro

With a few introductory remarks, he declared the forum officially open. As he began his speech, he went ahead to put out that, without the senate there I no devolution and without devolution there is no senate. He also put across that the parliament is required to ensure that the senate legislates for the minorities, marginalised, youth, women, people with disabilities. As a legislature he found it very important to engage with the young of this republic where he expressed concerns on the future of the young.” The future is already here, the future is with the senate, the future is with the young people”.

“A nation that does not appreciate its youthful population can only be a lost nation.” Inasmuch as we disagree with the judiciary, we must respect its decisions and use the constitutionally laid down formula to seek amends. The youths should be on the forefront of fighting and advocating for societal change in a positive manner

After the exhaustive remarks from the panellist, we headed for a health break and a photo session as well for about 30 minutes to the second session.

Photo session

The Next speaker to be invited up was Hon.Johnson Sakaja MP, (Chairperson,Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association). According to Hon. Sakaja, The future is here! The youth should network for an efficient and effective mentorship as well as be mentored to harness their technical skills. 92% of both employed and unemployed youths have no skills. Technical skills are essential for sustainable growth. The economy has moved on and does not care about the engine called the youth. He stressed on thorough participation in decision and policy by the youth.

Hon. Johnson Sakaja

The next speaker on was, Mr. Rony who represented Ms Lilian Omollo OGW, Principal Secretary, Public Service and Youth. He began by  asking the question on why the youths part of the affirmative action, where the affirmative action is defined as people who are marginalised, people being fought for in order to have space. He then quoted Chinua Achebe’s Book where it states that, A child who has washed his hands can eat on the table with the king, and therefore the youth of this country can eat with the kings.Who is driving the youth agenda? it has been hijacked and the youth have to come up with a method to dictate what happens and be in control since what we have is tyranny of youth for support to stand up for our rights.

Audience pic

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • 3rd generation of young leaders should rise up and unite the country and introduce a new order. This will happen if they defeat the politics of tribalism and corruption and take the country to the next level of development.
  • Legislatures to leverage on technology and facilitate the youth to be represented on all platforms where public policy and legislation are made.
  • The youth to leverage on the provision of the constitution such as petition to in order to petition on matters affecting the youth.
  • Legislature to engage the youth not only through formal forums but also informal settings.
  • The youth should create platforms where major stakeholders in the sectors would engage them.
  • Youth to participate in elective positions, if you are not young to vote you are not young to lead/run for office.
  • The senate and county assemblies to strengthen their tracking mechanism to ensure the executive both at county and national level implement legislation and policies that affect both youth that have been passed by the legislatures.
  • Transformation is the key to unlock the youth potential, the youth should adopt a strategy of negotiating hard and aggressively pushing the youth agenda through policy and legislation.
  • The legislature and policy makers to develop a structured mechanism to engage the youth in policy making.
  • The need to proactively invest  on the youth deliberating efforts to facilitate the youths to make contribution through law, ICT platforms ,budget making platforms, public noticeboards , and many other forums provided by the constitution.
  • The need to invest in securing the future of the young people by generating opportunities for them to leverage on the creative economies examples of art, culture, ICT, infrastructure. Young people to be equipped in building and maintaining infrastructure.
  • Senate to initiate and support more legislative interventions that will impact on the county and national government programmes to promote development projects.
  • Youth should engage in seeking awareness activities with members of political parties and as registered voters.
  • Senate to carryout civic education on how the youth can engage the legislators’ through petitions and other mechanisms of engagement.
  • The youth to be shareholders in the legislatures. Youths to form parliamentary clubs to discuss parliamentary matters.
  • The need to link the youth empowerment initiative such as youth development fund with skill development for the youths to be able to benefit from the initiatives.
  • The youths to use their organisations as platforms to address the root cause of violence and extremism and uproot wrong socialisation in our country. Legislatures to help with these initiatives.
  • There is need to use creativity and talent to mainstream the youth agenda.
  • The government and legislature to develop a martial plan to invest in involvement of young people in governance and ensure there are no legislation about the youth without the youths being involved.
  • Need to invest in a reformed education system that equip the youth with relevant skills for the job market.
  • The country should invest on young entrepreneur individuals who can create jobs both at the county and national levels of government.
  • There is need to link and bring national youth forums to create an efficient dialogue and engagement platforms.
  • Youth organisations to be included in the mail list of senate where they can receive all the bills under consideration in the senate in the bid to mainstream the senate and youth participation in the devolution agenda;
  • The Senate to carry out civic education on how the youth can engage the legislatures through petition and other mechanism of engagements provided by the constitution. E.g. drafting petition;

Youth Senator- Mombasa County

By Habiba Lelo Dida-Youth Senator-Mombasa County. She can be contacted through habiba@youthsenate.or.ke

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