Statement by the National Youth Sector Alliance on the Financial Impropriety of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund

Nairobi 29th May 2012

 

The Youth Enterprise Development fund was launched in 2006 by President Mwai Kibaki with an initial disbursement of KShs1 billion. The fund was established by a legal notice under the State Corporations Act 2007. The fund’s mandate was to address the rising youth unemployment in the country, as well as provide youth entrepreneurs with capital for business startup and growth. The Fund was converted to a state corporation later in 2007, under the ministry of Youth & Affairs and Sports(MOYAS).

 

In a letter dated 28th November 2008, the Kenya National Audit Office detailed audit queries to the then Chief Executive Officer of the Fund. The Ministry denied having lost any money but confirmed receipt of the investigation report.

 

Internal fights ensued between the then chair Hellen Tombo and then Minister Prof Hellen Sambili over action to address the issues at Management level, consequence of which the then CEO Mr. Wario was suspended. KACC was called in but before the completion of investigations, the then CEO was reinstated without any explanations.

 

As the country heads to the next election, the Youth have become the natural target for votes by all leading contenders of the Presidency, Senators, Governors, Members of Parliament to County, Women and Ward representatives. Action is yet to be seen from Parliament to which YEDF reports its achievements. This issue will be the LITMUS TEST, if indeed young people are priority for them. The time for accountability has come when MPs must demonstrate their commitment to ensuring the benefits of YEDF to young people are real and the funds available are not misdirected.

 

Mismanagement, Impropriety and Embezzlement of Youth Funds

 

The National Youth Sector Alliance (NYSA) takes exception to the issues of impropriety that have freshly emerged at the YEDF. The audit report dated 30th April 2012 details the misappropriation of millions of shillings from the youth fund in fraudulent claims. The audit, done by the fund’s internal audit team, found questionable imprest claims and payments as follows:

 

  1. Weaknesses in the entire system of the Fund
  2. Lack of a procurement Specialist
  3. Poor performance under contract performance in 2011/2012
  4. Engagement of financial sector partners without due diligence to the Public Procurement and Disposal (Public Private Partnership) Regulations, 2009.
  5. Exaggerated fuel consumption and misuse of work tickets, and falsification of youth payment schedules by officers of the fund (Outright Theft by the staff) which goes against the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2004, Public Officers Ethics Act, 2003 and Employment Act, 2007.
  6. Lack of proper communication channels
  7. Non authentic pre-disbursement under the Business Development Services , where some activities amounting to 1,133,500.00 were paid for but never took place
  8. Fictitious receipts for county sensitizations expenditures
  9. Impropriety over 4,231,000.00 million that was spent on agri business sensitization
  10. Systemic weaknesses originating from lack of an implementation matrix with strategies.

 

The National Youth Sector Alliance can confirm that indeed based on the internal audit, the YEDF has been looted with the full knowledge of very senior government officials.

 

Demands from the Youth of Kenya

 

  1. The current MPs and aspiring MPs must demonstrate their commitment to young people in Kenya to access financial services, profitable enterprise, quality (basic) health services, security, representation (the National Youth Council) and protection of basic rights as enshrined in our Constitution.
  2. The Board of Directors, Mandated to safeguard the Fund with Fiduciary responsibility, on behalf of the Kenyan youth must take political responsibility; explain to Kenyans their role in the mismanagement of the funds.
  3. The Minister and Permanent Secretary, to take Political responsibility and step aside for a proper forensic audit and prosecution of the staff culpable of misappropriation of the funds.
  4. The Artoney General and Director of Public Prosecution to institute full investigations into the alleged impropriety, and prosecute the culpable individuals. The Youth shall appoint their independent lawyers to join in the Legal team.
  5. As the buck stops with the President and the Prime Minister, the youth of Kenya shall be waiting for immediate action on their commitment to Agenda 4 of the National Accord which they have abrogated to their shelves.

 

The National Youth Sector Alliance shall continue to mobilize young Kenyans from all over the country to begin to pay vigil on these issues until action is taken. The next course of action shall be announced if the above 4 demands are not implemented within 7 Days.

 

About the National Youth Sector Alliance (NYSA)

 

The National Youth Sector Alliance (NYSA) is a conglomeration of over 350 youth organizations, youth sector actors, NGO’s, Societies, FBO’s, CBO’s Youth Groups, among others in the country coming together for purposes of ensuring coherent Policy engagement with Government, Private Sector and other relevant stakeholders.

 

National Youth Sector Alliance (NYSA)

2nd Floor, World Alliance of YMCA Building, PAWA254 Hub

State House Crescent, Off State House Avenue

P.O. Box 8799, 00200, Nairobi Kenya

Cell: +254722619005

Web: http://www.nysa.co.ke

 

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Statement from the National Youth Sector Alliance on the Misappropriation of the The Kazi Kwa Vijana and the Kenya Youth Empowerment Program Funds by Government Officials.

Nairobi: September 24th 2011

The National Youth Sector Alliance is disturbed by the news that that Kazi Kwa Vijana Funds provided by the World Bank for the purpose of empowering Kenyan Youth with job opportunities have been misappropriated by top officials in the office of the Prime Minister. Media reports indicate that the World Bank released 4 Billion Shillings for KKV and that it is demanding a refund of over 900 million which is claimed to be misappropriated by officials in the OPM.

In 2008 during the National Youth Convention (NYCIV), the youth delegates complained directly to the Prime Minister of the poor design of the KKV program noting that most of the funds were being spent not directly reaching the youth with a tagline of “Kazi Kwa Vija Pesa Kwa Wazee” It was recommended that the design of the program be restructured in order to directly empower the Kenyan youth. The recommendations were never taken into account by the Office of the Prime Minister.

 

During the inaugural Prime Minister’s Round Table with the Youth in September of 2010, under the Youth Empowerment Thematic Focus, a specific recommendation was made to the effect that the impact of the KKV was not being achieved due to poor structure and implementation. It was recommended that the Program be restructured to accommodate both labour intensive as well as intellectual capacity of the many millions of graduates from both tertiary and other institutions of higher learning in the country.

 

While the program was expanded and largely involved the Private Sector, the office of the Prime Minister managed to rename the department to Kenya Youth Empowerment Program. No caution was taken to the re-designing and structure of the KKV Program implementation. The specific recommendation in the matrix of implementation has never been responded to.

 

The fact that there has been public outcry and a lot of advice given on how to restructure the KKV, it is disturbing that the bureaucracy in the Office of the Prime Minister has not been keen to redesigning the program for the public good.

 

It should be noted that KKV is the closest that Kenya has come to creating massive employment opportunities for the high numbers of the unemployed population in the Country. The Fact that advice to make the program work has not been taken, is a confirmation of the existence of an axis of evil in Government that is hell bent to continue enjoying youth disenfranchisement for short term political gains.

 

It is still not clear how much money has been misappropriated and how much has already been disbursed. NYSA will initiate the process to bring to the fore the facts in partnership with other key stakeholders. The process will immediately seek to have an audience with the Kenyan youth and the relevant Government agencies to get into the root of the matter under question.

 

Pending Issues on the Youth Enterprise Development Fund;

 

It should also be noted that there are many questions that are left unanswered on the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. There have been unconfirmed allegations of fictitious and non-existent youth groups being beneficiaries of the Fund with millions of shillings reported missing without financial returns. All this matters must now be put under investigation and the agenda of Youth Empowerment in Kenya brought to naught in order to deal with the unemployment issue once and for all.

 

Demands from the Youth of Kenya

 

The Youth of Kenya, demand the following from the office of the Prime Minister and the Coalition Government;

 

1. A comprehensive financial audit of KKV and YEDF conducted with the following details;

 

a. the total amount of money used,

b. the kinds of projects accomplished,

c. the number and names of youth beneficiaries and how much they have received

d. the impact of the program aggregated according to region and gender.

 

2. Immediate suspension of the Officers in charge of the Kenya Youth Empowerment Program (KYEP) in the office of the Prime Minister.

3. Independent investigations to immediately commence and the officers found culpable of the misappropriation of the KKV and YEDF funds be prosecuted.

4. Immediate suspension of any financial undertakings on the program until it is comprehensively redesigned through a team of experts with young people included through a competitive independent, public vetting process.

 

Leadership from the two Principles

 

The National Youth Sector Alliance calls upon the President and the Prime Minister to put aside all their assignments and directly attend to these issues. This is a clear picture of corruption and the Youth of Kenya demand for accountability on funds meant for them. Transparency MUST Prevail.

 

Signed for and on behalf of the National Youth Sector Alliance.

Emmanuel Dennis

Convener – NYSA

Kenyan Youth Strategy Meeting 2011 – Nairobi Declaration

13th and 14th October 2011

Preamble

We, the delegates to the Kenyan Youth Strategy Meeting for Rio +20 at the United Nations Complex at Gigiri, Nairobi:

Acknowledge the African indigenous knowledge of the sacred value of the environment to biodiversity wellbeing.

Commit to promote innovations that will develop a green economy and promote the eradication of poverty.

Take note of the past declarations towards environmental sustainability both at the African and Global level, there is an urgent need for structural and infrastructural interventions in policy formulation, implementation and evaluation.

Recognize the current global environmental challenges, particularly climate change, which impact our common future and wellbeing, we commit ourselves to support of the following mechanisms:

  • Good governance and transformative leadership.
  • Promote Education, information exchange, communication and awareness
  • Achieve sustainable agricultural practices to reduce hunger, starvation and enhance food security.
  • Advocate for the development and implementation of sustainable development policies towards a Green Economy.
  • Invest in and promote eco-friendly entrepreneurship and job creation.
  • Attain sustainable green cities and villages.
  • Promote public engagement and participation through culture and volunteerism.
  • Promote Youth Development and capacity building
  • Good Governance and Transformative Leadership

We recognize the role of good governance and transformative sustainable development leadership that is

  • Participatory
  • accountable,
  • transparent and
  • implementable

at national and county levels. We reject governance that is weak on transitioning to a green economy and embrace that which promotes a green economy which engenders human well-being and social equity and respect for the natural environment, and the value of biodiversity and eco-systems, guided by, and accountable to, a new World Environment Organisation with universal membership by all UN Member States.  We also call for mechanisms in such new institutions that allow for youth participation in decision-making.

Youth delegations have to be engaged at all levels of governance in discussing benchmarks for the green economy. The Youth need to be involved in efforts towards policy formulation and development of institutional frameworks. Additionally, youth participation should be integrated at local, national and international assessments towards the development of an index for measuring the progress towards a green economy.

Promote Education, information exchange, communication and awareness

We recommend the adoption of green economy and sustainable development education material at all levels of education and public training initiatives by 2014. We intend to achieve this through the creation of various information sharing methods to various segments of the society.

We acknowledge that education underpins awareness; and awareness is critical to the spread of sustainable development principles through multiple levels in society.

Education serves as a hub for understanding the types of information to be considered when thinking about the green economy; how monitoring will be shaped in the context of the information identified as relevant; and the role of education on the environment to serve as a communication/public awareness tool on sustainable development.

Build an understanding toward the intersection of business, environment and society, in educating all people about the tenets critical to achieve sustainable development, especially the Youth.

Action: Build a national curriculum standard that promotes business in a green society. 2015

Action: Educate students in primary and secondary schools on the green economy by creating incentives that allow NGOs, student groups or CBOs to serve as ambassadors for education of the green economy. 2015

Action:  Build a monitoring service from the information-discovered. Discovery of information should be an integrated process involving key stakeholders with a special emphasis on Youth. Progress towards sustainable development goals should be identified as key thematic working groups, using poverty alleviation and institutional reform as output goals, and involvement of youth and CBOs as an inherent part of the process. 2018

Achieve sustainable agricultural practices to reduce hunger, starvation and enhance food security.

Whereas recognizing the interrelation between our national forest cover and agricultural productivity we recommend the following measures;

  • Increasing our national forest cover to 10% from the current 2% by the year 2015 through creation of green parks, promoting agroforestry and sustainable agribusiness.
  • Phasing out of hazardous chemical fertilizers in arable farming by the year 2015.
  • Promoting the utilization of the green energy technologies to enhance affordable agricultural production.

Advocate for the development and implementation of sustainable development policies towards a Green Economy.

Develop sustainability measures and indicators against which government programmes can be measured and assessed.

Advocate for the legislation of policies on sustainable development that regulate the corporations’ adherence to green economy modules.

Ensure that approximately 25% of the annual government development budget goes towards program initiatives on sustainable development, with clear indication on targets towards green growth in community development and individual technological entrepreneurship.  15% of the 5% funding should be geared towards mobilizing and benchmarking activities to demarcate marginal change of youth involvement in the green economy.  35% of that “Sustainable Development funding” should be geared towards supporting renewable energy and zero-carbon activities that are both sustainable and demonstrably financially viable, in a local and youth-oriented level. 2013

Ensure the programmatic and structural archetype of an environmental body that can hold nations and member-states accountable for reporting and making transparent their pathways and transitions towards a green economy. 2015

Ensure that the youth are fully represented at the National Land Commission.

Invest in and promote eco-friendly entrepreneurship and job creation.

Establish independent institutional mechanisms for promoting green entrepreneurship and growth among youth.

Set up an independent fund to provide start-up financing for green enterprises by youth

Promote technological, business and social innovation through creating enabling policy environment and platforms

Invest in business models that promote community development

Promote alternative and innovative funding and investment in youth green enterprises such as crowd-funding

Sensitize youth at all levels on green entrepreneurship through different channels such as new media

Create enabling business and policy environment for green entrepreneurship, for example, tax waivers for youth green enterprises

Promote public engagement and participation through culture and volunteerism.

We recognize the aspect of culture and indigenous knowledge that embraced green economy through agroforestry, organic fertilizers for sustainable development.

For sustainable development towards green economy, we recommend the need for selfless/political willingness from all levels of governance, private sector and individuals in promoting the green economy.

We recommend that; at all levels of policy formulation and participation, there is need for public engagement and concurrence which will enhance easy implementation and sustainability.

We stand for investment, documentation, promotion and development of best practices in cultural beliefs and practices that further conservation and renewable energy founded on indigenous knowledge.

Promotion of community and youth-led exchanges is key in this regard for effective sharing and transfer of green growth skills through access and exchange of information.

We appreciate that volunteerism will act as a means of inculcating community ownership of sustainable development initiatives.

Harness public engagement and Youth volunteerism to benchmark progress on the role of corporations in sustainable development through Corporate Socially Responsible initiatives.

Attain sustainable green cities and villages

Develop an independent institution to assess business models for micro-enterprises to assess their suitability for tax benefits and other incentives. And to regulate and ensure that micro-enterprises do not compromise environmental sustainability.

Develop comprehensive waste management systems by:

  • Placing increased emphasis on waste separation and recycling systems;
  • Establishing dug-in decomposition landfills where decomposable materials are put to decompose; once decomposed the material can be used as organic manure.

Establish awards to recognize and celebrate the effort of cities and villages that take significant steps in transforming into green cities and villages.

Regulate transportation to reduce congestion by:

  • Establishing dedicated lanes for public transport vehicles and
  • Implement mass transport systems such as rail transport.

Promote Youth Development and capacity building

In order to facilitate and further build capacity in youth to fully engage in and drive development processes to address the above priority areas, we call upon our governments to:

Adopt a Youth Development Index as an indicator of the welfare of the youth in the countries; and as a measure of the youth development.

Review existing and develop new policies and legislation to:

Promote youth innovation and entrepreneurship through structures such as:

  • Talent Academies
  • Technology and Business incubation centres

Protect these innovations through structures and measures such as:

  • Strong and easily accessible Intellectual Property protection
  • Moderate and accommodative tax regimes

Promoting youth participation in international forums through

  • Incorporating youth delegations as part of national delegations to international conferences
  • Providing funding for youth to participate at international
  • Incorporating youth in National policy formulation and implementation

Develop and strengthen national and local structures to provide support and training for youth organizations with emphasis in the areas of:

  • Establishment of community and youth led organizations
  • Leadership and organizational management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Project Management

Require that all government ministries establish youth offices and develop and implement youth engagement strategies to streamline youth participation in the work of the ministries.

Convene national and local youth forums to discuss matters relevant to youth development and make recommendations for action in support of youth development by state and non-state actors.

Improve youth access to information especially with regard to rural communities and informal urban settlements, through Establishment of community ICT Digital Villages

Conclusion

We, as young people, this is what we declare and recommend our government, individuals, businesses, development organizations and all stakeholders to undertake ahead of Rio+20 and beyond. Any action to be taken affects us and our future generation to a greater extent. We care about our planet and we will all work together in creating a more sustainable era. Green Economy is Achievable.

Global Integrity Seeks Contributors for the 2011 Global Integrity Report

Global Integrity, a nonprofit organisation tracking governance and corruption trends around the world, seeks experienced reporters to write a story about corruption in their country as part of the forthcoming 2011 Global Integrity Report.

Stories must be based on original reporting and provide a background to understand the culture of corruption in the country.

Successful candidates will have experience in investigative journalism or proven knowledge of corruption issues. Journalists from the following countries can apply:

• Gambia,

• Ghana,

• Kenya,

• Liberia,

• Malawi,

• Rwanda,

• Sierra Leone,

• Uganda, and

• Zimbabwe

The deadline is July 20th 2011.

For more information and to apply, visit http://www.globalintegrity.org/blog/hiringforGIR2011

Kenyan Diaspora Alliance Calls for Open Advertising of Positions of Chief Justice, Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions

Press Statement

The Diaspora Alliance, its corporate members listed below representing over 80% of all Kenyan Diaspora belonging to organized global organizations, calls for the retraction of the nominees for the positions of Chief Justice, Attorney-General and Deputy Public Prosecutor, and immediate setting into motion a transparent, credible way for recruitment that entails public advertisement and short-listing by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), before submitting the names to the President and Prime Minister for selection, and ultimately parliament for vetting before final appointment.

The Alliance is VERY disappointed that in the nomination of candidates for these positions the President who swore to defend the constitution has, essentially broken the very supreme law. It is quite clear that either the Prime Minister, the President (or both) are lying about the consultative process – or lack thereof – that preceded these nominations.

It is notable that the body charged with overseeing the implementation of the new constitution, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the body whose main function is to recommend eligible people to the President and Prime Minister for appointment as judges, as well as the High Court itself have declared the nominations illegal and against both the letter and the spirit of the law.

The Diaspora Alliance recognizes the vitality and sanctity of the judiciary, contending that while we can live with under-performing executive and legislature, no society can survive with a discredited judiciary like we have.

Public Action of Leadership must be for the common good

It is important for the leadership to note that powers of the Executive (also Judiciary and Legislature) are OF THE PEOPLE, only delegated to them! As per the Preamble of the new Constitution: the very first Article (1) states “all sovereign power belong to the people of Kenya …”. Thus any appointment by the President must be ‘on behalf of the people’. So, when the designated institutions along with the general public through the mass-media themselves are saying “do this transparently and fairly through the JSC” [and the voice of God is the voice of the people], the leadership needs to listen.

Various recent actions by the country’s leadership do not appear to have the welfare of the ordinary people of Kenya at heart, disregarding the supremacy of the people and the expectation for public officers to act in a manner that:-
i) demonstrates respect for the people,
ii) brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office,
iii) promotes confidence in the integrity of the office, and
iv) iv) vests the responsibility to serve the people rather than the power to rule over them (as in Article 73 of the new constitution).

In selective interpretation of the law, some commentators on this outrageous action have reduced this issue to competition between the two principles, forgetting that the Transitional Provisions are largely to help us wade through the murky ‘Coalition Government’ days – and also complete the stages for katiba implementation.

Article 24(2) of Schedule 6 often quoted was simply to ensure that in so appointing the Chief Justice, it is recognized that the ‘Presidency’ in this interim period includes also the Premiership. But it must be read with Article 166 (1) of the Constitution which states inter alia: “The President shall appoint the CJ and Deputy CJ in accordance with the recommendation of the JSC, and with the approval of the National Assembly.” The transitional provision oft selectively quoted doesn’t whatsoever negate the requirement for the JSC to be involved. Otherwise, the functions of the JSC would have been watered down; as a matter of fact the 1st and main function of the JSC [Article 172(1)(1)] is “to recommend to the President persons to appoint as judges”, and of course that includes the Chief “Judge” – the CJ!

We believe that Kenya is for all Kenyans, and that in this spirit, inclusiveness is important in all public appointments. It is therefore worrisome that the President overlooked women, youth and the Kenyan Diaspora – which contributes the largest portion of foreign exchange earnings by far, compared to any other sectors of the economy – in these appointments. Indeed, the nominee for the position of Attorney-General, Githu Muigai, is so insensitive to the rights of the Kenyan Diaspora that he opposed the registration of Kenyans abroad during the last year’s referendum on the new constitution.

Besides, as per Article 23 of Schedule 6, all judges to be reappointed must be first vetted. In effect, even if: i) the President had consulted the Prime Minister, ii) women, Diaspora, etc had been included, the action would still have been unconstitutional.

At any rate nothing in Schedule 6 itself prohibits the President and Prime Minister from inviting applications from qualified, eligible persons for these seats. As a matter of fact, had we been truly born anew, this is what good governance would entail!

Criteria for Appointments

The Next Chief Justice, Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions should be of impeccable integrity, credibility and beyond reproach. They must possess known credentials for fighting for and defending justice, democracy and the rule of law. Kenya needs and deserves judicial officers who at a minimum:-

1. Have exemplary transformative vision to overhaul the judicial system and permanently institutionalize the rule of law, service to the people, independence from the politics of the day, intolerant to tribalism, and proven abhorrence to corruption and sloth;
2. Judicial leaders whose professional and personal philosophy is discernible and preferably known to Kenyans. This can be found in speeches, articles, books, court proceedings, and other related past activities.
3. Genuine reformers who can lead by example, with this quality demonstrated by past actions – e.g. making rulings that show they can defy the executive or by assisting and being part of the struggle against past and present dictatorships and the subsequent fight for constitutional reforms from the dark days. Anyone without this hallmark must be told that they are unfit to lead Kenya through the next phase of the struggle, as such are people who will vary positions on the basis of tribe, political persuasion or brown envelopes and therefore cannot restore the sorely needed public confidence in the justice systems.
4. Change masters who can mobilize and motivate the troops. Cleaning the judiciary will require self sacrifice in the sense that many people who are used to lifestyles based on 5 or even 10 times their salaries are going to adjust to new circumstances. A lot of the judicial officers are still going to continue with the old way of ‘kitu kidogo’ while they preach water. The new Chief Justice and Attorney General must be capable of managing change, and transforming human behaviour without losing the morale and cooperation of those under their charge–for they cannot transform the judiciary by decree or through moral preaching alone. The new AG and CJ must be adept at creating a sense of purpose and a larger raision d’etre in the mission statement of Kenya’s new judicial system – one imbued with integrity, independence, transparency, ethics and professionalism.

The Process Must Free, Fair, Transparent and Participatory

Kenyans deserve transparent criteria for choosing nominees for those to be vetted by parliament. Kenyans deserve a chance to put the hard questions to those nominated– for example what their visions are, what specific plans they have in overhauling the judiciary, what has been their role in the struggle for democracy and above all, they must sign a “promissory note” committing to the people of Kenya that the buck will stop with them, that they will take personal responsibility for failure to deliver and they will honourably step aside even if there is a whiff of suspicion or if Kenyans do not see tangible improvement within one year.

This is not something just for the President and Prime Minister, or PNU and ODM for that matter to negotiate and horse-trade about. The truth is that today, the majority of Kenyans belong to neither of these groups; these positions are even more for the sake of future generations who know no parties than today’s.

Reclaiming the Space from the Political Elite

Part of the problem with our country is the manner in which a few individuals believe that the country belongs to them only. On the other hand there is a misplaced obsession with highlighting the fights among “political titans” as opposed to ordinary Kenyans’ fight for a “Just Society of Men” (as engraved in Parliament’s Chambers)!

We ask a few questions:-

a) Why do we have a great constitution yet allow people in position to defy the same that they took oath to protect. How safe is one as a Kenyan that his or her rights are protected when the President himself breaks the law with great abandon?

b) Why do we take hard options in deciding pertinent matters of state (like appointments) yet we have crystal clear guidelines, men and women of honour, resources, resolve and intellect to follow procedure as is?

c) Why should we always start by doing the opposite of what we ought to do, then turn around just to score political points or otherwise?

Moving Forward

It is disappointing and dangerous that a country with as much potential and ability as ours should be run in so inappropriate a manner.

The Diaspora Alliance calls upon the governing principals to follow the constitution and the law in running the country, and to put the interests of Kenyans first. Moving forward, we demand the following :-

i) Withdrawal of the nominees for the positions of CJ, AG and DPP, and immediately setting into motion a transparent, credible way for recruitment that entails public adverts and JSC short-listing, before submitting the names to the President and Prime Minister for selection, and ultimately parliament for vetting before final appointment. What would be wrong if JSC or even the relevant parliamentary committee advertised the posts – and extended the same to Embassies so that qualified Kenyan Diaspora too applied? Instead of ‘thinking big’, we seem to fancy ‘thinking small’. Instead of leaving it to ‘only the 2 people’ (call them principals), why not open it up to the 40 million Kenyans? They can’t be more wrong!

ii) We accordingly recommend that the 3 judicial officers all be excluded from any future consideration for these offices as they have failed the first test of credibility and integrity. If they were worth their salt and to be trusted custodian’s of the rule of law in Kenya, they should have promptly declined these nominations even without prompting, given the unconstitutionalities.

iii) Kenya’s leadership has to rededicate itself to the purpose and spirit of the new constitution, lest we have a document that is not even worth the ink it was written on.

Member Organizations of the Diaspora Alliance:-

Diaspora Movement of Kenya (DMK)
Institute for African Democracy, Development & Sovereignty (IADDS)
Kenya Advocacy Group (KAG)
Kilimo Foundation for Corruption and Poverty Eradication (KCPE)
Kenyans for Change (K4C)
Kenya Global Unity (KGU)
Madaraka People’s Movement
New Vision Kenya – Mageuzi (NVK-M)
Voice Movement

About the Diaspora Alliance

The Diaspora Alliance’s vision is to see a just, free, prosperous and equitable Kenya, one in which social justice and the rule of law are entrenched in all the strata of Kenya’s society, especially in the institutions that affect public and personal life in our country.

Kenya Coalition Principals Grossly Misguided about Kenyan Youth

By George Nyongesa

We are infuriated by the fact that President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga used Jamhuri Day celebrations to level allegations of treason against the youth of Kenya. The principals’ outburst, coming hot on the heels of Government spokesman Dr. Alfred Mutua’s similar outlandish claim that the youth are receiving foreign funding to destabilize the coalition government, cannot be ignored, especially by the leadership of youth.

In this regard, we wish to address the President and Prime Minister as follows:

First, we would like to point out that the poignant claims eloquently expose the fears and uneasiness that the political establishment has over the emerging political consciousness among the youth. The language of castigations completely reeks of the status quo’s misguided view of youth as being disorganized, confused and easily manipulated. We refuse this ill-adviced definition of the youth and warn that we are indeed actively organizing to empower ourselves in order to keep on track reforms especially as espoused in Agenda 4 of the same National Accord that brought President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga together in a coalition government.

Second, we are not fazed by allegations of receiving support from wherever in order to realize our agenda. This is not news, as the coalition leaders never ending foreign begging trips are common knowledge. In any event, the youth are part of the wider civil society that likewise survives on primarily international funding for their activities. Also, since the coalition government will not put together empowerment programs that are not designed to control us, manage us or take us hostage, reality check demands that we work with anyone who understands our problem and genuinely wants to help.

Third, we frown upon President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila’s attempt to plant seeds of strife and discord among youth by branding their leadership as foreign-aided coup plotters. Whilst the tag is meant to cow the emerging youth leadership, we want to boldly warn them that Agenda 4 issues, among these, youth unemployment, remain key reform and progress scorecard items for the youth; that if not comprehensively and urgently addressed by the two principal will precipitate the threatening revolution of the dissatisfied masses of youth against the cartel of political elite.

Fourth, we wish to inform President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila that the majority Kenyan youth are quickly realizing that unless Agenda 4 items are addressed, the youth and future generations will remain victims of bad governance that is characterized by corruption, impunity, poverty and tribalism.

We are no longer at ease with the way things are and will not hesitate to latch on constitutional rights to organize to overthrow the political establishment that preys us. We want a better Kenya that is fit for all of us to realize our God given potential. Indeed the youth leadership is going round the neighborhood inspiring fellow Kenyans that with the reality of new constitution, our numbers hold the key to the change we want to see and there is nothing criminal in pursuing constitutional promises.

Fifth, Mr. President and Prime Minister, it is true we are organizing to breed a new leadership that is up to the task of bridging the differences in our society and inspire our social diversities to work together to realize prosperity and peace for all. These are the ideals the youth of our generation dream of and in the back drop of new constitution find it civic obligation and duty. We are organizing because we are dissatisfied with the periodic tokenism such as Kazi kwa Vijana, Youth Enterprise Fund and worse still a youth ministry that has turned out to be a political circus.

Mr. President and Prime Minister, we are organizing because we have come to the realization that anything this political status comes up with has in the final analysis always become another gradualism that cannot address the urgent grave situation of unemployment among youth. We are organizing because we do not want to be used and abused as political levers by political cartels. We are organizing because we are fully aware of the problems the youth face; we are aware of the solutions to those problems and we are sure that we are the leadership we need to get us out of this deep hole.

Sixth, the youth are actively involved in post-referendum civic education on the new constitution especially on the contents of chapter 6. This is because in gearing up for 2012, before the campaign propaganda and empty promises peddled by power hungry politicians clouds their judgment, it is important to empower Kenyans to realize that most of the current crop of leaders cannot stand the leadership and integrity test set by this section of the constitution.

Indeed, the next general election forebodes an overthrow of the political establishment that grossly falls short and that continues to benefit from impunity. Mr. President and Prime Minister, you must accept that Kenyan youth organizing to shake off the yoke of oppression and exploitation through ballot democracy is not a crime and it is an internationally recognized, legitimate and legal avenue for citizenry to realize their own progress.

Seventh, we find it well within our political rights and liberties to want to and accordingly to organize to legally depose an establishment rife with corruption, impunity and tribalism, and replace with one for whom the people’s agenda is central. In doing so, the youth do not act only for ourselves, but millions of Kenyans who are victims of the current bad leadership such as the thousands of internally displaced persons sleeping cold and hungry in filthy camps, thousands of youths seeking solace from joblessness in crime, alcohol, drugs and prostitution, and the millions of Kenyans on self imposed curfews as a result high insecurity in our country.

Eighth, we sympathize with the coalition principals’ embarrassment suffered after the honest and unflattering contents of WikiLeaks, but wish to categorically protest against the Machiavellian use of youth as a political distraction shield of sorts. Casting aspersions against the youth leadership as ploy to steal the public attention from revelations of WikiLeaks is in bad taste, reactionary and totally misguided and betrays how quick the principals are to sacrifice others for their own interests. Accordingly, we dismiss with contempt and term it as a gross insult, the unsolicited paternalistic advisory that had the Premier label Kenyan youth as puppets and we demand a public apology.

In conclusion, we demand that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila either come up with practical programs to get the youth out of the extreme poverty that makes them vulnerable to political manipulation or keep off our activities of organizing to save ourselves. We reiterate that we are peaceful and patriotic Kenyans engaging in constitution guaranteed civic actions to bring about another Kenya that is fit for all of us. We believe that the youth of Kenya are already giving so much of their own limited resources and sweeping allegations of foreign funding of youth activities is a distraction that we advice our fellow youth not to pay attention to. While we are not oblivious to the fact that the status quo will not resist misuse of state power in deploying old tricks of violence to halt our non-violent and peaceful push for meaningful reforms, we remain determined to deliver the dream and shall not relent.

Mr. Nyongesa is the National Coordinator of Bunge la Mwananchi as well as Co-convenor of the National Youth Forum in Kenya.

Press Release: Garissa County Youth Response to Dr. Alfred Mutua’s Comments on The American Aid To Kenyan Youths

This is a rare opportunity for young people to deliberate, shape and chart their destiny.

It is a departure from the past when youth were regarded as a recipient or worse still trouble makers. We shared our problems with people who not only didn’t care but also refused to listen to our voices and concerns.

The US government involvement, as driving force, was to address urgent need for youth participation in the socioeconomic, cultural and political agenda of the country. The youth fund given by USAID aims to serve the youth in the informal settlements, rural areas, small cities, pastoralist communities and towns and rural areas who bear the brunt of exclusion, deprivation, intimidation, violence, human rights violations and underdevelopment as a result of inequalities, political misgivings, intolerance, and limited access to opportunities by the youth, disregard of human rights and unaccountable system of governance by the government that is ironically concerned that we are now being empowered by external forces.

The approach by USAID is through active involvement and development of youth leadership on issues that affect them. It also endeavours to promote leadership that upholds youth interest, diversity, equality and non discrimination, information sharing, generation of knowledge and skill enhancement, partnership to strengthen youth unity, connectivity and collective action among youth are among the key approaches used by the USAID to address the youth problem.

Youth unemployment and underemployment are in our opinion Kenya’s most serious problem that continues to cause even more problems. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports should hit the road running on the issue and look to have viable inclusive policies as we speak now!

There have been numerous attempts by successive government to address issues of concern to the youth. The latest attempt is the Kazi Kwa Vijana program. The Kazi Kwa Vijana with its national scope was the most unsuccessful event undertaken by the government for the youth. The involvement of youths has been very minimal and youths all over Kenya have a common saying that KKV was (“kazi kwa vijana pesa kwa wazee”).

We call upon the authorities to consider change of strategy and opt for consultation and engagement. Force, threats and intimidation have failed to deal with the problems effecting the youth. Political parties have manifestos to outline their agendas for the country. These documents that are intended to guide the electorate on the best leadership and governance they will require. They lay out and issues in these documents are designed to entice and persuade the voters though implementations of the issues are debatable.

Kenyan youths have contributed a great deal to coexistence among the various communities and races. The young people contribution to sustainable peace must be enhanced. There are records of youth organizing and using their talents to communicate peace through songs and to engagement with the leaders and other community members.

The exchange program initiated by USAID among the young people from various communities and background is necessary and viable. These are learning opportunities and help young people appreciate diversity and thus deal with stereotypes, rumours and myths spoken about particular group of people that has created tension in the past. If it’s true that young Kenyans participated in the post election violence then they are also key instrument to create and preach peace through various initiative and various mode of communication.

A wide range of governmental policies and public sector programmes have particularly failed to address problems that affect the Kenyan youth. However, the youth of Kenya have refused to die!

We continue to mobilize community action, to build a community force and to claim and enjoy our God given rights, human dignity and we are in constant search of our freedom. The young people continue to work strenuously to affirm their status as permanent citizens of Kenya and the world at large. We continue to demand recognition and participation in decisions that affect our lives. We believe that we deserve better services and dignified livelihoods.

We have realized that we have a fundamental role to play in seeking credible solutions to our problems. We believe that we have the power to seek solutions to our problems. We have taken the front seat because we are the survivors, we are the ones who suffer, we are the ones who wear the shoes and know exactly where it hurts. We are committed to give birth to a new community, a new nation and new world where all humanity will rejoice and be proud, we believe this has happened with the new constitution.

The youth are organizing for real change and we are saying don’t just watch the space we also invite you to join the space! We won’t just shout we will also act!   We condemn Dr. Alfred Mutua’s remarks on the US embassy as a direct insult to the youth and utter disrespect for people who are helping in building your own home; he should instead thank the American government for being good friends of Kenya and not condemn them.

We want to thank Hon. Micheal Rannerberger (US Ambassador) for the good work he is doing with the Kenyan youth. Let President Obama know that we appreciate his encouragement and goodwill to help the youth of Kenya.

Thank you.