According to data released by the I.E.B.C there are 9,930,315 registered voters between 18 – 34 years out of the 19,611,423 registered voters. That accounts for approximately 50.64% of the total number of voters on the 2017 voters’ register.
Aspirants for the positions of Member of County Assembly (M.C.A.), Member of National Assembly (M.P.), County Woman Member of National Assembly, County Governor and County Senator have hit the campaign trail.They all have myriads of promises for the young people if elected into office on August 8.
A peek at the 2017 Jubilee and NASA Manifestos have some very interesting search results on the youth.
In the Jubilee Party manifesto, empowering the youth is featured under Pillar One of transforming lives. In its vision, it recognizes that young people are the cornerstone of Kenya’s future.
Jubilee’s Vision for the youth is as follows:
“We have a large pool of talented and entrepreneurial youth who seek opportunities, not handouts. Young people that seek to utilize their talents. Our transformative program aims to harness this creative energy by providing skills and opportunity to young people to take our country to the next level.”
On Page 29 of their manifesto they enlist some of the things they planned to do for the young souls of this Country. They include:
- Establish a Youth Development Council to provide coordination of all youth related activities and facilitate the necessary training, skills building and mentoring to link young people with emerging job opportunities.
- Ensure every young person seeking employment is identified by carrying out a continuous Ward, Constituency and County level registration process through the Ajira Platform. We shall ensure that through the Youth Development Council they are linked to potential employers.
- Ensure more opportunities for employment for youth by transforming the National Youth Service to implement commercial projects in Kenya and abroad.
- Expand the participation of young people in national development and guarantee that 30% of all appointments, projects and budgets specifically target them.
- Link training and skills building to jobs, we will attach every youth registered through the Ajira Platform, to a specific public project such as the building of roads and housing, irrigation, water infrastructure and electrification projects.
- Encourage organizations to take on board interns by expanding the tax incentive framework.
- Prepare highly talented young people to work in the Public Service by introducing a Young Professionals Management Programme.
- Establish the Biashara Bank by merging the Micro and Small Enterprise Authority, the Youth Enterprises Development Fund, the Women Enterprises Fund and the Uwezo Fund to provide coordination in the delivery of affordable financing and support for business development.
- Provide structured support to the creative sectors, which have high potential for youth employment including film music and fashion and bring them into the mainstream economy.
- Scale up the “Studio Mashinani” and “Talent pia ni Kazi” where young people can affordably record and expose their creative talent to the market as we harness their talent to create new jobs.
They have further enumerated some of their gains for the young people of this country. They include:
1.Expanded the youth empowerment programme by providing low interests loans to youth owned enterprises to enable them to grow their businesses. This has increased from Ksh4.9bn accessed by 407,793 young people in 6 years up to 2013 to Ksh11.8bn disbursed to 893,438 young people under the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. This support has enabled young people to participate in economic development and provided opportunities for formal and self-employment.
2. Increased the number of young people recruited through the National Youth Service (NYS) from 4,000 in 2013 to 37,005 in 2016.
3. Ksh42.8 billion has been awarded to youth, women and people with disabilities through the 30% procurement Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) benefiting close to 40,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the supply chain.
4. Trained over 12,000 Micro, Small and Medium enterprises in entrepreneurship and management
in the past four years compared to none in 2012-13.
The NASA on the other hand believes that the creativity, energy and entrepreneurial drive of our youth can power a services economy to rival the best in the world.
On Page 19 of the NASA Manifesto Implementation Plan, they recognize that the youth make up the majority of the Kenyan population. They also contribute to the bulk of Kenya’s unemployed population.
NASA’s commitment includes:
- Collaborating with county governments to devolve the Youth Enterprise Fund to the ward level.
- Infusing ICT as an integral part of the teaching of agriculture in schools/universities to make agriculture studies attractive to the youth.
- Developing the scope in the education sector that particularly targets older youth who left formal education at a young age to work in agriculture. These will include adult literacy and skill building to ensure that no Kenyan is left behind especially if their reason for stopping formal education was due to hardship.
- Negotiating leaseholds with landowners for commercial user purposes (agricultural) by the young.
NASA has promised to;
- Establish mechanisms for youth to access finance and technical support for farming and agribusiness enterprises.
- Establish a National Afforestation Program under the Kenya Forest Service in partnership with international environmental organizations that will employ young environmentalists on a full time basis to plant trees and nurture them to maturity.
- Establish County-based information centers (help centers) on the economic opportunities available e.g. in agriculture and establish specialized learning centers in each county that offer evening classes on value addition agricultural produce.
- Task the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a specialized bureau to be created within the presidency with the task of deliberately and strategically positioning young Kenyan graduates in inter- governmental organizations.
- Negotiating with counties to establish designated car wash areas in towns/cities and then grant loans to young persons from the Youth Enterprise Fund to buy the necessary equipment for a proper car wash.
- Negotiating with County Governments to establish properly equipped environmental management programs for urban centers funded by loans from the Youth Enterprise Fund run by young people.
- Removing red tape and streamlining the process of registering youth businesses.
- Funding and developing emerging cultural, creative and performing industries (largely spearheaded by the youth ) to make Kenya an African hub for the theater,cusine ,music ,fashion, cultural sports, radio and television, film ,video games and other forms of publishing and entertainment.
- Creating and maintain full – time sports departments in all government ministries ,departments and agencies that will not only provide employment for sportsmen but also interest public officers in sports.
- Employ all sports persons who achieve a pre-determined minimum level of excellence in their sports in these ministries, departments and agencies on permanent and pensionable employment.
- Rename the Children Court to the Children and Young Persons Court and empower them to deal with all delinquent conduct so as to avoid the criminalization of juvenile delinquency and in order to make sure young people are not condemned for the rest of their lives for their mistakes.
It then becomes clear that the two leading political factions in this year’s contest have made the youth a key pillar of their campaign agenda.