The opening of the 4th session of the Tenth Parliament has reinforced the need for me to stay focused on weighty matters affecting the majority of Kenyans.
As expected, some of our legislators have an uncanny knack to rub us the wrong way with mindless remarks and actions, as was the case on Tuesday.
Secondly, the CoE has officially handed over the revised draft constitution for debate by our Parliamentarians and we hold our breaths, in the hope that this document will see the light of day.
That is how we deal with them; like children. We tell them one thing and they pull unexpected and at times contradictory moves. We on the other hand, sit back and complain yet we elected them into power.
Well, what can you do as the youth?
As we approach 2012, we need to begin asking our legislators critical questions. What is their youth agenda? If they want to be re-elected, can they demonstrate tangible action they have taken that benefited young people while in power?
According to the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), young people make up more than sixty percent of unemployed Kenyans. Out of this overwhelming number, only one in 10 has job skills that make them employable.
With such statistics, I foresee a huge problem in the near future. Our leaders should be telling us what they are doing for the ones who have no employable skills. Or for the ones who are employable but lack the opportunity. Correct me if I am wrong, but I have not heard anything about the youth so far. Is it any wonder then, that our disillusioned young people now turn to cults or crime to give them hope?
So I ask you young people… what is your own agenda?
In a country where you make up the majority of the population, you should be able to dictate who becomes your next President (as was the case with the United States). That means that you need to turn out in multitudes to register as voters. It also means that you need to play an active role in scrutinising potential leaders next time around.
Secondly, you need not wait for the annual budget reading to see how much money has been allocated to youth projects. Last year, a lot of funds were channeled through the CDF with a view to create employment opportunities.
Who has been monitoring utilisation of these funds? What percentage of the mobile computers and bicycles earmarked for purchase were allocated to young people? Is the Ministry of Youth Affairs able to give us a status update?
How about using these funds to build or sponsor youth employment organisations that provide technical training and empower young people? Compare it to having an active Rotary club in every constituency which ensures that young people transition into formal employment more easily.
These organisations could also offer short term courses in entrepreneurship since we know that not everyone can be absorbed into the existing job market. Let us train young people on project management so that great ideas do not crumble under inability to manage them.
However, know that my suggestions will not come to fruition unless you take an active role in your community.
The emergence of social networking sites like Facebook have provided a very effective tool for communicating your agenda, networking with others in your constituency and monitoring your leaders to ensure that they accomplish the tasks you set out for them.
The thing about Kenya is that we have the ability to become the ‘Silicon Valley’ of East Africa and beyond. Our young people are educated, energetic and have innovative ideas. Unfortunately, they have often taken a back seat when it comes to taking charge.
Now is the time. You have the numbers to guide change, the desire to fulfill your goals and the opportunity to grow this country for yourselves. Do something!