The National Youth Council must be adequately funded in this year’s Budget
The National Youth council was established by an Act of Parliament, the National Youth Council Act, 2009. According to the Act, the council should regulate and coordinate youth activities in the country, whether these activities are organized by NGOs, civil society or just communities. But its primary purpose is to promote youth policies and advance for periodic law reviews by lobbying for legislation on youth matters.
Has the council succeeded in performing its mandate? The answer is NO! But who is to blame for this?
Most people will be quick to point fingers at the government, but I beg to disagree! Any moment you point a finger, you should worry of how many fingers are pointing back at you! If you are a youth and you are wondering of who has failed the NYC, you only need to look at the mirror.
The Kenyan youths have become cheap and petty. We have forgotten who we really are, we are ignorant of our powers and yes we have failed this country. We differ on basis of tribes instead of ideologies; we would rather be paid to organize demos to serve other people’s interest than fight for our own interests.
I’ve heard self-proclaimed youth leaders complaining that the NYC board has let the Kenyan youths down. These half-baked leaders are willing to marshal their followers to call for disbanding of the NYC, but they have failed to do the same to help the board push for funding and establishing of a running secretariat. They have been pointing fingers at the chairman, who is elected by the board amongst themselves, but appointed by the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Youth Affairs.
The self proclaimed youth leaders, or the NYC delegates as they call themselves, have resolved to blackmail. They threaten the civil servants in the relevant offices with demos only to extort money. They are constantly moving from one office to another, meeting powerful people, and they do this with one primary goal – to make the NYC dysfunctional.
The NYC is under threat, and if we are not careful, it is soon going to be in existence no more. A body that is mandated to fight for over 16 million youths doesn’t even have a secretariat. It only has two officers seconded to it by the relevant ministry, and a CEO position that has always been underserved. This youth body receives only Kshs. 34 million to pay its board members, staffs and run youth programs in the country. It doesn’t even have its independent account. Its accounts are partially run by the Directorate of Youth Affairs (DYA), and it neither has a procurement officer nor accountant. Generally, the NYC is paralysed!
Comparing NYC with other segments in the Planning Department, you would be shocked. The Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), FGM, Women Enterprise Development Fund and Uwezo Fund are all under the same department. All these four government bodies have fully operational secretariats, with several employees and ample budgets. Uwezo Fund, which is running a parallel program as the YEDF, came just the other day. It already has offices in every constituency and has a huge budget. The NYC on the other hand is neglected like an orphan child.
Perhaps you may be wondering why this is happening. There is fear that if set free and it gets proper funding, the NYC might change the political landscape of this country. Julius Malema, a former African National Congress ANC Youth League leader, has risen to become a key player in South Africa national politics. He has challenged the establishment, thanks to the foundation he got right from school to ANC. But since in Kenya, our political parties have dwarfed their youth wings, NYC is our only hope to ascend to leadership positions in this country.
Those who stand for the status quo know this and they have sworn not to let this happen. They are sponsoring constant infighting in the NYC board and they are now extending it to the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. Though we the youths are the majority in this country (age 18 – 35), we are at the mercy of the older generation. We are left to do the dirty job for them while they eat and squander our resources.
The NYC prides itself as the voice of youth, who actually are the majority in this country! We constitute at least 35% of the population. Therefore, the NYC is the voice of the majority! Youths should be tired of being classified as interest groups. We have the power to get what we want. However, we have let the selected few to ruin us just like Alan Moore says in the movie V for Vendetta:
“Since mankind’s dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We’ve seen where their way leads, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse.”
Knowledge, like air, is vital to life. Like air, no one should be denied it. Now that you have known what’s happening, as a youth what are you going to do about it? Here is my suggestion, let we the youth of this country demand what is rightfully ours! We must not leave it to the NYC board to do it for us, but let’s push the government to fund the NYC or promise it a budget day Kenyans we’ll never forget!