BY MACHEL WAIKENDA
One thing that has become clear in this country is that we have a nudge to politicize everything without consideration of the facts therein. We have become a nation of political vendetta and witch-hunt even where things are presented to us in black and white.
Our opposition has perfected this art and it is very disheartening that there never arises positive criticism from Cord. According to the opposition, everything that the Jubilee government does is wrong in their eyes even when it is something that is out to help the public.
Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru and the National Youth Service have been the latest targets of negative political energy. We are losing the bigger picture as we target the CS who in my opinion has dedicated her life to the public service even before she was given the ministerial job.
Granted, there is a problem at the National Youth Service as established by the recent probe by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. The fact that some Sh791 million may have been fraudulently spent is not only criminal but immoral and the culprits must be punished.
It is wrong for people to take advantage of their positions to steal for a venture that is out to help the public and especially the youth. There is no excuse in stealing public funds and those responsible must not only be jailed but must pay back the money.
That said, it is wrong for the opposition to keep dragging CS Waiguru’s name in the matter when it is public knowledge that she is the one who asked for the investigations. If it were not for the CS’s actions, we would have never have discovered the millions that were alleged to have been stolen.
We now have two things in our hands. One, the attempted fraud that led CS Waiguru to call in the DCI and two, the millions that are alleged to have been stolen and discovered during the probe.
In my view, we must congratulate CS Waiguru for the diligence in ensuring that the public does not lose money. And secondly, for taking action against the 21 officers from her ministry and the NYS that have been implicated in the fraud.
The fight against corruption will only be won through actions such as which CS Waiguru took. This is now a criminal matter being handled by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and should therefore not be politicized.
If Cord were serious about helping the country fight corruption, they should be calling on other senior government officials to be as proactive as Waiguru. Their negative reaction to the matter only makes Kenyans wonder on whether they want to see corruption fought or are focused on witch hunting individuals.
Cord leaders should also not forget that we remember when they were in government, some of them or officers under them were either accused of impropriety or suspended for the same. Some of them are still facing allegations and should therefore be the last to vilify others on unfounded accusations.
If all government officials borrowed a leaf from CS Waiguru, it is not rocket science that the country would save millions, if not billions, of shillings lost through corruption. Her actions were and remain noble and must be emulated by all officials at the national government as well as the county government.
The attack of the National Youth Service by the opposition is as unfortunate as that which has been launched against CS Waiguru. The opposition appears not interested in seeing the country and especially the youth develop.
In line with the Jubilee manifesto, the government is committed to revamp and restructure the NYS into a robust and dynamic institution to drive the youth transformation agenda. As I have written before, the revamped NYS is a key ingredient in ensuring that the Kenyan youth are more empowered and play a greater role in the development of the country.
Kenyan’s should not allow politicians to kill the dream of empowering the Kenyan youth who hold the torch to the country’s prosperity. The new NYS is a noble idea that must be protected by all Kenyans.
The rebranded NYS now operating under the mantra “True to self; True to Country” and aimed at having more young people gain skills and knowledge that not only helps them grow but the country also develop. The NYS graduates are training thousands of youths in different skills in the 47 counties per year in a period of between four to six months.
And so just like we dedicate a lot of resources to handling other issues such as insecurity, Kenya must make a deliberate attempt to make NYS one of the ways to dealing with unemployment. We will have solved half of the issues facing the country such as insecurity, poverty and drug and substance abuse if we handle unemployment among the youth.
Therefore politicians who launch and re-launch their careers through negative politics and public officers who cannot keep their hands off the cookie jar must not be allowed to kill the dream of empowering the youth.
(The writer is a political and communications consultant. Twitter @MachelWaikenda)