Opinion and Analysis
Youth take centre stage in poll race
Posted Monday, February 18 2013 at 17:39
After the recent launch of manifestos by political parties, there is a particular interest and group of people in Kenya’s demographic that they have attempted to focus on, the youth.
Manifestos are sensational declarations that are made in public and they hardly go beyond rhetoric. In fact, they are meant to stimulate debate, and have been used worldwide to lure the electorate.
By design, they are usually precise, and do not follow any form of logic. Ideally, they are vague and are not supposed to delve into many details.
Those who find them most interesting are the youth, since it presents to them some glare of hope for the future. Lets focus on what Kenya’s presidential candidates have offered to the youth.
The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy manifesto lays a foundation for Kenya to move from being poor and dependent nation to be productive and self sustaining economy, paving way to job creation.
The spirit of this manifesto is anchored on the premise of the bill of rights as envisaged in Kenya’s constitution to grant citizens social, economic, political civil rights. To achieve these promises, use of a rights based approach remains very critical as envisaged in the new constitution.
The Jubilee manifesto on the other hand tries to borrow heavily from the CDF model and enable the youth to access interest free financing in groups and as individuals to start up their business. Their proposal broadly promise to channel 2.5 per cent of the national revenue towards financing the youth fund.
However, the manifesto does not delve into details of articulating the mechanisms that they will use to stimulate this demand and raise such high levels of revenue.
As for the Amani coalition, their manifesto just gives a verbal promise to the youth that once it takes up power, the youth will have jobs. It stops at that. Looking at the three main manifestos, it is clear that unemployment statistics in Kenya have been utilised to develop the youth components.
Its prudent to recognize the fact that youth involvement in the development of such documents is very important. If you want to assist the youth in this country, it is imperative you ask yourself what is it that the youth really want.
Are there existing mechanisms such as funds and programmes that have been set up by the current government and other institutions and are they working or not. If these are not functional or are performing below par, what could be the possible reason for such as performance.
We must give credit to these manifestos since they all seem to recognise the fact that the youth are Kenya’s future, and many of the coalitions’ plans depend on creating an enabling environment to attract investors.
The writer works on policy reforms and advocacy at Akiba Uhaki Foundation