2012 MILEAD Fellowship for young African women leaders – Call For Applications

Who is the most outstanding young African woman leader you know ?

Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa (Moremi Initiative) has announced its call for applications for the 2012 Moremi Leadership Empowerment and Development (MILEAD) Fellows Program.

The MILEAD Fellows Program is a one-year leadership development program designed to identify, develop and promote emerging young African Women leaders to attain and succeed in leadership in their community and Africa as a whole. The program targets dynamic young women interested in developing transformational leadership skills that help them tackle issues affecting women in their communities and society as a whole- by equipping them with the world class knowledge, skills, values and networks they need to succeed as 21st century women leaders. Applications are welcome from young African women living in Africa and the Diaspora.

The MILEAD Fellowship will be awarded to 25 outstanding young women with exceptional qualities who have exhibited leadership potential in their community, organization, and/or profession.

To be eligible for the one-year program, an applicant must be African, living on the continent or in the Diaspora; agree to participate in all required activities related to MILEA- including a three-week residential Summer Institute in Ghana; and commit to a community change project.

Applicants must be between 19 – 25 years of age. Specific requirements of the program and related dates are outlined in the application package. Please review program and application guidelines carefully, before completing your application.

Please note that this is not a full-time fellowship. Selected candidates may remain full time students or work full time for the program duration, except during the 3–week summer institute. The 3-week summer institute is an intensive and full-time residential program and all fellows will be required to attend. The rest of the program involves community-based, online and other distance activities.

How to Apply:

The application package and additional information is available online at www.moremiinitiative.org

Application forms must be downloaded and filled-out in word document format. Completed application form must be submitted with two letters of recommendation and CV. All applications and supporting documents must be submitted by email.

Deadline for applications. March 15th 2012.

Find more fellowship opportunities

A.J. Muste Memorial Fund, International Nonviolence Training Grants – Call for Applications

The A.J. Muste Memorial Institute funds projects which promote the principles and practice of nonviolent social change through grantmaking programs including the International Nonviolence Training Fund (INTF).

The INTF was created in 1994 by a group of concerned donors with the aim of specifically supporting nonviolence trainings. (For information about our other grantmaking programs, please see the grants page on http://www.ajmuste.org/ajgrants.html )

Nonviolence trainings seek to help people develop and improve the skills they need to confront systemic injustice through organized, principled, nonviolent action. Trainings promote the exchange of ideas, information, and strategies, through which activists can become more effective at using nonviolent action in their struggles.

INTF GRANTMAKING PRIORITIES

The INTF supports nonviolence training outside the United States, and within Native nations in the US.

Projects eligible for support include:

  • Those which build capacity and leadership among people engaged in nonviolent struggles;
  • Those which prepare participants for specific nonviolent actions or campaigns;
  • Those geared to “training the trainers,” in order to expand and multiply nonviolence training throughout a targeted community.

Preference is given to:

  • Projects which involve trainers from the local area or region, where such trainers are available.
  • Groups which are small, community-based and have less access to funding from other sources.

The maximum grant amount is US$3,000.

The INTF does not fund:

  • Trainings which are geared primarily toward resolving conflicts between individuals, building life skills or job skills, or achieving personal empowerment or economic independence.
  • Conflict resolution or violence reduction programs which do not directly promote activism for social justice.
  • Scholarships or other funding for people to travel abroad to attend courses or training sessions.
  • Trainings with budgets over US$50,000, or organizations with annual budgets over US$500,000.

The Muste Institute can and does directly fund organizations which do not have their own 501(c)3 non-profit tax-exempt status, and/or which are not incorporated. The only time the Institute requires a fiscal sponsor is if the organization does not have its own bank account. If you cannot receive a grant directly (with the grant check made out to the name of your organization), please indicate this in your proposal and include information about your fiscal sponsor, including a letter indicating the sponsor’s tax-exempt status and some basic information such as a brochure or brief annual report.

WHEN TO APPLY TO THE INTF

The next deadlines for proposals for the International Nonviolence Training Fund is December 2nd 2011.

The review and decision process takes approximately four months.

The INTF does not consider proposals for trainings which will have already taken place by the time its decision is made, so you are urged to apply at least four to five months before your training is set to begin, especially if you need preparation time for the training after notification of the grant decision.

Groups which receive INTF grants must generally wait two years before applying again to the INTF.

HOW TO APPLY TO THE INTF

To submit a proposal, fill out completely the INTF Grant Application Form: http://ajmuste.org/INTFGrantApplicationForm.doc

Email the completed form (preferably in MS Word or RTF format) with all required attachments to intf(at)ajmuste.org  with the subject line “INTF:” followed by the name of your group.

NOTE: If you are awarded a grant, you will have to provide a complete financial accounting for all funds received from the Muste Institute, demonstrating that they were used in accord with the grant agreement. This accounting is due as soon as the money is spent or within six months, whichever comes first. If funds from a grant remain unspent after six months, you must submit an updated accounting every six months until the complete grant is spent. This financial accounting should be accompanied by copies of materials produced with Institute funds, and a brief narrative report on the project.

Go to http://www.yipekenya.org/News.htm to find more grant opportunities

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.

The Youth Congress Position On The National Youth Council Act 2009 And Its Operationalization

Introduction

Although the National Youth Council Act that was legislated in 2009[1] was meant to ensure effective implementation of the Kenya National Youth Policy 2006 it has fallen quite short of the goal even before its operationalization. When the youth rallied behind the formulation of the Kenya National Youth Policy 2006 and proposed the formation of the National Youth Council it is because they wanted a reliable, independent, responsive and effective institution that could address their concerns most of which have been ignored over years.

They envisaged a National Youth Council that would serve as a lead and negotiating institution for the youth and amplifier of youth issues. They expected a National Youth Council that would ensure improvement of their socio-economic and political conditions through effective   representation and participation at various levels.

The Youth Congress an independent youth organization in Kenya whose mission is to provide a platform where the youth consolidate their position to improve their condition and realize their full potential believes that for the National Youth Council to play its role effectively then it should be credible, legitimate, inclusive, independent and sustainable. As it is the National Youth Council Act and its operationalization mechanisms do not afford the youth the proposed and desired National Youth Council. The Youth Congress has reviewed the National Youth Council Act 2009 and the proposed election guidelines and would like to point out some specific concerns.

A. NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL ACT 2009

i. Functions of the National Youth Council

Part II and in particular section 4 on the functions of the Council is largely indicative that the National Youth Council will not have any political power to ensure translation of pertinent policies into desired results. It is portrayed as a body that will only be responsible for promoting awareness and inclusion. In fact, the words used the most in this section are to promote, popularize, facilitate, link, liaise, mobilize, inspire, lobby and such others.  One of the principal functions of the National Youth Council should be to ensure effectiveness and responsiveness of all Government and its Agencies on youth and youth issues as espoused in the present constitution.

ii. Composition of the National Youth Council

The independence of the National Youth Council is not afforded in the National Youth Council Act 2009 as far as the composition of the Council is concerned. According to Part II section 5 of the Act, the Council shall be composed of sixteen elected youth representatives including the chairperson, one secretary, four Permanent Secretaries[2] and the Attorney General. The inclusion of Permanent Secretaries and the Attorney General all with voting powers could be problematic as it is likely to supplant the independent participation of the youth.

The argument that we need these Government officials because they work in the Ministries that have direct link to youth issues does not hold. If that is the case then, Kenya National Youth Policy 2006 that provide for the National Youth Council identified priority strategic areas for youth as; Employment (Ministry of Labour), Health (Ministry of Health and Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation), Education (Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology ), Sports and recreation(Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports), Art and culture (Ministries of Youth Affairs and Sport , Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture ), Environment(Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources), youth empowerment and participation in national life (Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030) and Youth and media(Ministry of Information and Communication). Where is that direct link!

 

If link is presumed to be the purpose, then unemployment, Environment and Health are major youth concerns. Where are the Permanent Secretaries of these Ministries? There are Quasi Government bodies where the Permanent Secretaries do not constitute their membership and discharge their duties quite effectively e.g. Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. Such models should be used in establishing the National Youth Council to guarantee its independence and autonomy.

iii. Nexus with Ministry of Youth Affairs

The Act is silent on the envisaged relationship between the National Youth Council beyond establishment of the new body. This is matter that should have been stated clearly in the National Youth Council Act to avoid stand offs like what has been witnessed in the past in the Ministry. The National Youth Council should emerge as body that would be responsible for ensuring effectiveness and responsiveness of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports if at all there is still need to have both of them.

iv. Powers of the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports

While one would expect an independent National Youth Council, the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports still wields immense powers that are anchored in the National Youth Council Act. To exemplify, despite the elections of youth council members, the Minister still has the final say. According to section 5 subsection (1) (a) the Minister will be responsible for appointment of the chairperson nominated by the Council. The role of the Minister in this case should be to endorse the candidate elected not nominated by the council. In the first Schedule, section 2 subsection (b) states that a member of the Council can be removed from the office by the Minister. This could give the Minister leeway to victimize dissenting voices in the council and reconstitute the Council without proper procedures as has been witnessed in several occasions in the past.

v. Nexus with Advisory Board

The National Youth Council Act is silent on the envisaged relationship between the National Youth Council and the Board. This is matter that should have been stated clearly in the Act to avoid stand offs like what has been witnessed in the past in the Ministry. There is need to establish clear mechanisms for interactions between The National Youth Council and the Advisory Board.

 

B. ELECTION GUIDELINES FOR NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL

i) Effective Consultations

There lacks effective consultative mechanisms with the youth both in the formulation of The National Youth Council Act 2009 and the subsequent election guidelines. Where that has happened it has been sporadic, urban based and mostly arise as a result of demand by youth organizations. There hasn’t been a clear plan and strategy to consult the youth in their various clusters on the matter. This could have major implications on the ownership of the documents, process and results.

ii) Civic Awareness

There can be no doubt that the level of awareness on the Kenya National Youth Policy 2006, National Youth Act 2009, Election Guidelines and the concomitant process are painfully dismal. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has not rolled out plans to ensure massive awareness that would somewhat lead to broader participation and ownership by the youth. This is regardless of the fact that the elections were set to commence in February 2011. This can only mean that turn out will be quite low and the resulting National Youth Council will be quite illegitimate.

 

iii) Independence of the National Election Supervisory Committee

The guideline in bullet 4 proposes the establishment of the National Election Supervisory Committee at the national levels whose among the key function is; to co-ordinate the National Youth Council Election at the national levels and oversee the election at the National Youth Congress and National Delegate Forum. This Committee is constituted of five Permanent Secretary; Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Provincial Administration and Internal Affairs, Finance, Gender, Children and Social Services and the Office of the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, a representative of the Interim Independent Election Commission, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and two representatives nominated by the Minister.

It also provides for election supervisory committee in every sub-Location, Location, Division, Constituency and County. These are constituted by; officer from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development and three persons nominated by faith based organization, non-governmental organization or a youth organization and appointed by the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports.

Apparently, the composition of the National Election Supervisory Committee is 80% Government. This could jeopardize the autonomy of the elections since there are already concerns on influence and interference by some officials with the intended National Youth Council. Such elections should be steered and coordinated by an independent body that is fairly disinterested in the persons to be elected.

Similarly, bullet six of the guidelines also proposes the establishment of Election Supervisory Committee in every sub-location, location, division, and constituency and county that is accountable to the Minister and not the National Election Supervisory Committee. In so doing the Minister and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will be undermining the independence of the already skewed National Election Supervisory Committee.

 

iv) Affirmative Action

The guidelines does not expressively explain the manner in which the various priority target groups that includes but not limited to; youth with disability, street youth, youth infected with HIV/AIDS, female youth, the unemployed youth and youth out of school will be involved in the process of establishing and operationalizing the National Youth Council. The guidelines have no consideration to youth from historically marginalized communities without clear way for representation. The National Youth Council need to conform to principles and values underlying the National Youth Policy that is; Respect of cultural belief systems and ethical values, Equity and accessibility, Gender inclusiveness, Good governance and Mainstreaming youth issues.

 

C. THE YOUTH CONGRESS SUBMISSION

The National Youth Council must be credible, legitimate, independent and effective. It’s in this backdrop that we seek the following;

1)       Review of the National Youth Council Act 2009.-The Nation Youth Council Act 2009 and the election guideline should be reviewed and youth concerns in- cooperated before the election and subsequent establishment of the National Youth Council. The concerns in the National Youth Council Act includes but not limited to;

  • Removal or reduction of the number of Government officials like the Permanent Secretaries and the Attorney General and take away their voting right.
  • The National Youth Council Act 2009 should state categorically the relationship between the National Youth Council and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
  • Reduce powers of the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in the National Youth Council
  • The National Youth Council Act should state clearly the relationship between the National Youth Council and the Advisory Board.

2)       Youth leadership and participation-The process of establishing the National Youth Council must ensure youth leadership and participation and full involvement of key stakeholders of the later.

3)       Civic education schedule-There should be civic education on the National Youth Council election prior to the election and other stakeholders incorporated.

4)       Election by Interim Independent Election Commission –The national election for the National Youth Council should be conducted by the Interim Independent Election Commission (IIEC) for credibility and transparency.

5)       Principles and values underlying the National Youth Policy- The National Youth Council must conform to principles and values that is; Respect of cultural belief systems and ethical values, Equity and accessibility, Gender inclusiveness, Good governance and Mainstreaming youth issues.

Conclusion
As such, The Youth Congress looks forward to offering its support, in whatever form possible, to ensure participation of the young people in the establishment of Independent, inclusive, efficient and effective National Youth Council by the youth, with the youth and for the youth and the subsequent follow up to champion for the implementation of the Kenya National Youth Policy. The Youth Congress is available and open for discussion on the subject matter.


[1] The National Youth Council Act, 2009 was assented to by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya on the 31st December, 2009 and subsequently published in the official Kenya Gazette on the 6th January, 2010 which is also its effective commencement date.

[2] Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of; Youth Affairs and Sports, Finance, Education and Internal Security and Provincial Administration

 

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.

Peace Call To The Youth Of Côte D’ Ivoire

By the Youth Bridge Foundation and the African Youth and Governance (AYG) Conference

‘It is only by being committed to peace that we can give a chance to the youth of today and future generations to thrive and allow the African people to enjoy dignified life experiences.’ – Dr. N’Dri Thérèse Assié-Lumumba, Professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, Ivorian, Daughter of Africa and Patron of YBF

Youth Bridge Foundation and the African Youth and Governance (AYG) Conference is deeply worried about the ongoing post-election conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. YBF and AYG are particularly concerned about the tensed political climate and resultant violence in Côte d’Ivoire with the youth as both perpetrators and victims of the violence.

On the platform of the African Youth and Governance (AYG) Conference- Accra 2009 and again in August 2010, Youth Bridge Foundation and the entire AYG-Conference Community questioned whether the ever increasing youthful population of Africa, currently estimated at 60 per cent of the continent’s total population presents a potential threat to stability or potential resource for development.

We agreed that for the youth to be a blessing rather than a curse to the continent, a lot depends on the actions African Governments, politicians, the International Community and the citizenry of Africa take or purposefully refuse to take today to prepare the youth for the future.

Regrettably, the Côte d’Ivoire debacle suggests that we are yet to learn the lessons of the past and failing to provide the right leadership to steer the youth of Africa away from violence and destruction. It was not long ago that Kenya suffered similarly civil strife leading to the death of over a 1,000 people mostly young Africans and causing severe disruptions to the economy of Kenya and neighbouring African countries.

Some compelling facts and figures from Sir John Holmes (UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs) in report to the UN Security Council on the electoral conflict in Kenya (2007) is worth recalling in this context. He reported that:

  • Over 73 per cent of the assault in Kenya was carried out by youth aged 14-29 years.
  • Economy: (a) The Kenyan State lost US$1.3 Billion (just on production);
    • (b)Tax Revenue: 3-days after the election, the business community lost 2 Billion Shilling (equiv to US$30.42 Million) worth of taxes daily due to the unrest.
  • Ripple effect of Kenyan’s conflict on Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda was devastating.
    • Tanzania: Rely on Kenyan’s Ports for transportation of over 90 per cent their daily consumables.
    • Uganda: with over 80 per cent of Uganda’s imports passing through the Port of Mombasa, Uganda revenue authority reported daily income losses of up to US$600,000.
    • Burundi: Commercial trade and humanitarian assistance to Burundi rely solely on Kenyan ports.

Having crossed over to New Year 2011, the Youth Bridge Foundation and the African Youth and Governance Conference Community remain:

CONVINCED that Africa’s greatest resource is its youthful population (60 per cent of the continent’s population) and that through their productive participation and positive mobilization, Africans can surmount the continent’s many challenges;

ALARMED by the continuous loss of lives violently and slowly due to lack or inadequacy of medical services, and high sense of insecurity which disproportionately affects the vulnerable (women and children) in Côte d’Ivoire;

NOTE that the protection of lives and access to food and shelter is every Ivorian’s human right;

RESPONDING to the recent charge to African youth, at African Youth and Governance Conference (Accra 2010), as contained in the Communiqué, to resist any form of political or social negative mobilization that contribute to the problems of the African continent rather than solutions;

THEREFORE APPEAL TO:

 

Young People of Côte d’Ivoire:

  1. To be reminded that they have the responsibility to steer Côte d’Ivoire into stability;
  2. To remain calm in the light of all the efforts at negotiation and diplomatic talks;
  3. To demonstrate that they have a land to cherish, a future to protect, a challenge to overcome but a commitment to build the future today;
  4. Not to take up arms and allow themselves to be used for violence;

 

Youth wings of the two contending political parties particularly the Young Patriots:

Embrace the above appeal and give peace a chance.

 

All Stakeholders (ECOWAS, AU, International):

Not to give up too quickly on peace without compromising the principles of free and fair elections.

 

Signed

 

SETH OTENG

Executive Director

Youth Bridge Foundation

African Youth and Governance Conference Initiative

Accra, Ghana

Websites:www.aygconference.org / http://www.youthbridgefoundation.net

Email: info@youthbridgefoundation.net

Tel.: +233-302- 938999 / +233-24-3229505

 

Can we call the MPs bluff?

By Odhiambo T Oketch

As we usher in the New Year, we must all stand up and be counted. The country ended the year on a wrong note from our Members of Parliament and I bet we should call their bluff.

Let us interrogate the team that put up a spirited effort to have Kenya withdraw from the ICC process. This is the same team that sang in parliament that we should not be vague- it is the Hague. This is the same team that thwarted 3 attempts in Parliament that could have set up a local tribunal.

At that time they thought that the ICC process will come 30 years down the line, and they said as much.

What comes to mind is the shifting of allegiance as corrupt networks show all and sundry how powerful they are. In so voting, Parliament was in actual fact entrenching impunity. We are being shown how powerless we are as a people and that the Lords of Impunity can play with our national psyche at will.

We all know what ails Kenya. We know how the corrupt have captured power structures and choked the Judiciary. They have now regrouped to operate from the precincts of Parliament and we are cheering them on.

We must condemn our Parliamentarians in the strongest terms possible for showing insensitivity to the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons. MPs must not play roulette with the plight of IDPs; that now they assemble at Panafric Hotel to raise funds for them and the next instance they are voting to protect the interest of the war lord!

As we start the New Year, let us re-focus on the dictates of our New Constitution, which many of them fought so hard to shoot down. We must rededicate our efforts to fight corruption in all its manifestation. It is sad to auction the National Assembly and use the House to advance parochial interests; interests that are at variance with our national aspirations.

Parliament must remain above reproach at all the times. But some of our current group in Parliament are loaded guns ready for hire. It does not matter to them the merit of the assignment. What matters to some MPs is the amount you put on the table and they shoot.

Look at how Hon William Ruto has handled himself in the recent past. The man operates as if he is the paragon of virtue while the rest of our leaders including the President are zombies. The man is inciting the Kalenjins against Kenyans on a daily basis and the National Integration and Cohesion Commission looks on as if nothing is happening. Do they need to be prompted?

As much as the man is running off the field, Ruto is a time bomb ready to explode and he wants to explode with innocent Kenyans. If there is hate speech, do not go far off from Ruto. The man has a slimy tongue and as the Bible says, the tongue can be a tricky slimy tool. Ruto is using it to the fullest. Someone should tell him to stop digging; he is in a hole. He needs our collective redemption.

The last bit is the confusion these chaps want to visit on us that they are the young leaders we should vote for. I want to be very clear on this; if Ruto is the change that we need, then I need no change.

We are struggling to build one Kenya that has respect for all; Ruto does not respect all.

We are struggling to build one Kenya for all; Ruto and his team are busy dividing us on a daily basis. He preaches hatred any time he opens his mouth. He can easily make fools to fight. The good thing is that many Kalenjins have called his bluff and refused to be that vile.

We want a Kenya that is free of corruption and impunity. I am sure we cannot get this from this team that is masquerading as the face of the young leaders ready to salvage Kenya. Many of the leaders in this camp thrive on impunity. They preach hatred and corruption shadows all their movements.

Kenyans must support the ICC process to help us regain some sanity in our way of doing things. The perpetrators of the Post Election Violence must be punished. We have proved that we cannot punish these guys three years down the line, the world must hence punish them.

Let us not be hoodwinked by these young people who believe in nothing. They stand for nothing and they have nothing to offer. The only thing that unites them is the fear of one Raila Amolo Odinga becoming the President of Kenya.

2012 beckons and my voters card is ready.

Odhiambo T Oketch

Komarock Nairobi