By Michael Obare
In the heat of Coalition making towards the next general elections, Kenyans have been treated to a shocking lie by the Jubilee Coalition who, for populism's sake, have painted themselves youth and are eager to fool the country's younger generation that they are championing their cause.
Known retrogressive forces, conservatives and political tricksters have formed a united front to hoodwink Kenyan youth to vote them into power in March, so that they can re-launch bad governance, corruption and negative ethnicity; all practices that have in the past undermined youth empowerment in Kenya.
It is evidently clear that out of all the candidates in the presidential race this year; only Raila Odinga (CORD) represents the interest of the Kenyan youth.
The youth form almost 44% of the country’s population and they are the hope of our country. They thus deserve better. They deserve a progressive and honest government.
Towards the 2007 elections the ODM under the leadership of the Right Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Raila Odinga had prioritized youth empowerment in its manifesto. It was in recognition of the important role youths play in wealth creation and sustaining society.
The dream was frustrated after ODM and Raila failed to capture power in the 2007 elections. Because of the complexities of running the resultant coalition government, ODM has only been able to achieve some of the goals they had set in place. That was mainly because of the frustrations by the other coalition partners (PNU).
If elected to power in 2007, ODM had crafted policies that would ensure that the livelihood and welfare of the poorest and most vulnerable people were protected fully. A full-fledged ministry was to be established to supervise and coordinate the implementation.
In the Coalition deal under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, social assistance including cash transfers is being offered to orphans and vulnerable persons including those with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. The PM has strongly supported these programs despite heavy resistance.
ODM had also set out plans to enhance the role of micro-finance (MF) services which has been partly achieved through the establishment of the Youth Enterprise Fund and Women’s Empowerment Fund as well as the licensing of various MFI’s.
ODM had also pledged in 2007 to open job-seeker offices (employment Bureaux) in major cities and towns and this has been achieved through the reactivation of labour offices in all county headquarters.
Kenyan youths should now be able to determine who their real enemy is. Those who have been hell bent in frustrating the efforts of the Prime Minister in implementing that which is of benefit to the Kenyan youth are indeed our enemies.
Kenyans now have a new constitution whose major beneficiaries are the youth. It is the Prime Minister who campaigned for this constitution while these power hungry politicians now pretending to be pro-youth, the forces opposed to change and those who wanted to maintain the status quo vehemently opposed it.
It is these same backward forces who are now out to mutilate this constitution that Kenyans have fought for many years and lives even lost while the premier and his team of reformers are leading the battle to implement it to the letter. The new government that will be formed in 2013 under the leadership of Raila Odinga has sworn to protect, implement and defend the Constitution in spirit and letter.
In the new government in 2013 under Raila Odinga’s leadership, the youth will be involved in decision-making and planning of interventions that address their needs, there will be well-equipped vocational and entrepreneurial centers in each sub-county, promotion of working relationships between the private sector, educational institutions and non-state actors to provide opportunities for job placement, internships and apprenticeship to young college graduates as well as promotion of modern sports centres in each sub-county, to enable the development of sporting talent among the youth.
In addition, a Raila Odinga led government will mainstream physical education and sports as an examinable subject in the education system, set aside financial resources that will lead to the establishment of modern stadia and sports facilities in every county and the availability of world-class sports facilities at the national level.
His government will also facilitate the establishment of national sports academies for various sporting disciplines and the establishment of a sports policy and legislation unit to oversee the development of policies and guidelines targeting women, children and persons with disabilities, and to ensure proper management of sports institutions and associations.
In matters of health, a Raila Odinga led government will strengthen the implementation of policies and laws by ensuring the consolidation and inclusion of budget lines to support the health activities targeting the youth. It will also put in place measures in support of the development of health programmes that meet the needs of young people.
This is what sets the PM apart from his myopic competitors as a true champion of the reforms which the youths want badly. The youth should shun the jubilee opportunists.
The author is Director For Youth Affairs - Friends of Raila Lobby Group (FORA 2013)