|Call to Youth of Kenya: Participate in the National Youth Council Elections 2011|
|Friday, 18 March 2011 18:16|
The Youth Congress is calling on Kenyan youth aged between 18-35 years to register and actively participate in the National Youth Council elections slated for April and May 2011. The National Youth Council is being set up in pursuant to the National Youth Council Act 2009 and the National Youth Policy 2006.
According to the Guidelines on the elections of youth representatives to the National Youth Council, the elections that will be held at the sub-location up to the provincial levels are meant to facilitate the process of electing 16 youth representatives to the National Youth Council. Youth are meant to register with the youth officers in the sub-location if they intend to take part in the National Youth Council elections.
Considering the significance of the National Youth Council, youth participation in the National Youth Council elections is essential for the following reasons:
1. The elections would help identify leaders who can transform the National Youth Council into an independent, responsive and effective institution:
Although the National Youth Council Act that was legislated in 20092 was meant to ensure effective implementation of the Kenya National Youth Policy 2006 it has fallen quite short of the goal. As it is the National Youth Council Act and its operationalization mechanisms do not afford the youth the proposed and desired National Youth Council.
For a National Youth Council to be effective it has to be independent, youth led and credible. But as it is, the National Youth Council proposed by the National Youth Council Act 2009 is largely Government and with facilitative rather than representative mandates and might not cater for youth interest effectively. And it will never as long as it remains the way it is.
Youth need to elect credible representatives to the National Youth Council who can assure the youth of their commitment to transform the National Youth Council into a reliable, youth led, independent, responsive, effective and sustainable institution.
2. Election of credible youth leaders
The National Youth Council elections provides youth with a rare opportunity to elect youth leaders who could be viewed as representative of youth leadership at the council but also at the national mainstream arena. It comes at a time when Kenyans are somewhat skeptic of youth leadership. This is an opportunity for youth to demonstrate their ability to Govern.
Youth should use the opportunity to revive confidence in youth leadership by electing youth representatives who meet the standard of leadership as provided for in Chapter Six of the constitution.
3. Youth participation is essential to avoid government and political interference:
There are fears that politicians are keen to have their point men and women in the National Youth Council. If that is allowed to happen then the National Youth Council will be composed of people keen to serve the politicians and not youth.
As long as youth fail to take charge of the process through active participation, politicians will hi jack the process. Youth participation in the National Youth Council elections will enable the youth to get credible leaders who shall serve the interest of the youth and not politicians nor the government.
4. National Youth Council will serve as the officially recognized youth representative and negotiator:
It is envisaged that once constituted, the National Youth Council will be the official youth representative for the Kenyan youth at various levels. NYC is expected to regulate, coordinate and facilitate activities and initiatives relating to youth. Most importantly, section 4 (k) of the National Youth Council Act 2009 states that the NYC shall act as a voice and bridge to ensure that the Government and other policy makers are kept informed of the views and aspirations of the youth.
Youth participation is essential in the formation of the National Youth Council to bolster its legitimacy and the confidence of the youth leaders to fulfill the outlined mandate and expectations of the youth.
5. National Youth Council could provide an opportunity to deal with challenges facing the youth in Kenya:
Youth in Kenya face myriad socio-economic problems that include unemployment, underemployment, HIV/Aids, poverty, lack and poor quality of education, poor access to health services, lack of decent livelihoods amongst others. The National Youth Council with proper leadership could provide a unique opportunity to support and advance wellbeing of youth by dealing with some of the challenges. Section 4 (d) states that the National Youth Council shall mobilize resources to support and fund youth programmes and initiatives. Similarly, section 4(e) mandates the National Youth Council to lobby for legislation on issues affecting the youth.
6. National Youth Council to ensure promotion and protection of the rights of youth
The National Youth Council in its mandate....is meant to ensure promotion and protection of the rights of the youth. Section 4 (i) states that the National Youth Council shall formulate guidelines that protect the youth against any form of abuse and manipulation. According to section 16 (2) (d) (v) of the NYC Act 2009, one of the principal bodies in the Youth Advisory Board will be Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.
7. Youth leadership, participation and representation in decision making:
The National Youth Council presents youth with an opportunity to participate in the process of decision making and policy development. According to section 4(n), the National Youth Council is meant to ensure inclusion of youths in decision making bodies, boards, agencies and other public institutions. Through the National Youth Council, youth will be able to determine their development and that of the society at large.
8. Empower the Youth to contribute meaningfully to their development and that of the society:
National Youth Council is expected to empower the youth to contribute meaningfully to their development and that of the society at large. Section 4(o) mandates the National Youth Council to ensure establishment and access of Youth Development Fund and other devolved funds that target the youth. Section 4 (d) states that the National Youth Council shall mobilize resources to support and fund youth programmes and initiatives.
9. Enhanced partnership between youth and other stakeholders for greater achievement:
National Youth Council could contribute to strengthening of both state and non-state actors for youth development. According to section 4(f), National Youth Council is expected to liaise with other organizations to ensure that the youth gain access to resources and services appropriate to their needs.
10. Support to young women:
The National Youth Council supports young women to take their rightful place in the society and development. According to section 5(h), at least 3 slots of the 16 youth positions in the Council are meant for female gender. According to section 21 of the guidelines on the election of youth representatives to the National Youth Council, the Election Supervisory Committee is expected to ensure that no more than two thirds of the youth representatives are of the same gender. Similarly and according to section 28 of the guidelines on the election of youth representatives to the National Youth Council, youth are required to consider gender in election of youth representatives.
11. Recognition of Youth with Disability:
Section 5 (h) provides for at least 1 slot in the 16 positions for youth representatives to the National Youth Council for youth with disability. According to section 28 of the guidelines on the election of youth representatives to the National Youth Council, youth are required to consider issues of disability in election of youth representatives. Section 16 (2) (d) (vii) of the NYC Act 2009, one of the principal bodies in the Youth Advisory Board will be representation of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities.
12. National Youth Council Act is propped by principles and values underlying the National Youth Policy
The key principles and values that underpin the National Youth Policy and National Youth Council Act include; Respect of cultural belief systems and ethical values, equity and accessibility, gender inclusiveness, good governance and mainstreaming youth issues. The principles and values are essential for youth development as well as the advancement of the society.