PRESS RELEASE ON 26TH MAY 2011
THE NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL ELECTION HALTED
The ongoing Country wide National Youth Council election has been put on hold following a court injunction in a ruling issued by the Honorable Lady Justice Jeanne Gacheche on 23rd day of May,2011, order restraining the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport from carrying out any further election on the basis of the National Youth Council Act, of 2009, Guideline on the election of youth representatives to the National Youth Council Legal Notice Number 7 of the 4th February, 2011 or until the provisions of the Constitution and section 13 and 14 of the guidelines have been complied with.
The petitioners cite violation of section 13 of the election guideline that states – a candidate is not be eligible for election, if he or she has participated in the civic education training as a trainer on National Youth Council elections or is an officer participating in the National Youth Council operationalization exercise and section 14 that states-the election register shall be closed two months before the date of election.
At the consultative meeting with youth serving organisations on National Youth Council convened by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on 8th April 2011 at Kenya National Achieves Auditorium, these issues and other key concerns were brought to the attention of the Ministry officials, but they chose to ignore youth voices. Reference is also made to the communiqués to the Ministry by The Youth Congress dated Wednesday, January 26th 2011 and many others from various youth serving organisation which to date have never been responded to by the Ministry.
It’s not in dispute that there were no organised or intention for civic awareness on the National Youth Council election by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. This attributed to the low levels of registration and participation by young people. By 4th May 2011, three days to the extended registration deadline of 7th May 2011, only 1,765,284 out of 11,089,518 youths between the ages of 18-35years which is 15.92% had registered. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport resorted to carry on with the election to establish the National Youth Council despite the lack of numbers, resources and capacity for the same.
It’s the opinion of The Youth Congress that the matters before court of law are of concern to the Kenyan youth; they contribute largely to the end product that is incredible National Youth Council. Young people voted overwhelmingly for the new Constitution and must stand to defend it to the letter and ensure the rule of law is followed. The Youth Congress position was to enhance civic awareness working with other youth serving organisation to ensure credible leaders were elected from the sub-locations who could transform the National Youth Council to what young people have yearned for over the years.
Young people have waited for the council for so long, but this must not be construed to give room for a quick fix. The Constitution gives all Kenyans the right to participate and access to information. The Government must put enough resources to facilitate the Council establishment, create environment for regular consultation with the stakeholders and treat this election with the seriousness it deserves like any other national election. It’s sad that Kenyans knew the by-election in Ikolomani and the halted by-election in Kamukunji Constituency but few to date know and have interest on the Country wide National Youth Council election. As such, The Youth Congress will continue its engagement in any possible and is open for dialogue to ensure informed participation of young people in establishment of independent, inclusive and responsive National Youth Council by the youth, with the youth and for the youth.
Raphael Obonyo, Convener, The Youth Congress.