Katiba Baraza: Why going green is cool for the youth


As debate on the proposed constitution rages on, issues to do with the youth seem to be swallowed in the political frenzy, especially due to contention on land and the kadhi’s courts.

Kenyan youth and, as we call them, Buzzers, make up a majority of the population stand to gain much in the new constitution if it passes the August 4 referendum test.

The proposed constitution defines youth as persons who are aged between 18 and 35 years of age.

Even with emerging contentious issues, the proposed constitution provides an opportunity to deal with the socio-economic and political inequality facing young people.

The new constitution will enshrine many provisions that uplift the youth from the status of a marginalised group that has been perpetuated by weak institutions in the country.

The elaborate Bill of Rights, touted to be the most advanced north of South Africa, has an entire section on the youth.

Article 55 requires the government to put in measures and programmes that ensure that the youth access education, training, representation and employment.

It has provisions that require the government to ensure that young people are protected from harmful cultural practices and exploitation.

Early marriages and female genital mutilation are some of the issues that have been facing young women in Kenya presently.

The provisions of the proposed constitution require that the government ensures that young people are represented and participate in political, social and economic spheres.

Not only is the government required to ensure that the youth access education and training but also ensure that they can also get jobs.

Other provisions that cater for the entire population and more specifically to the youth include Article 43 which recognises socioeconomic rights including food, healthcare, housing, education and social security amongst others.

Chapter 8 that deals with representation in Parliament gives space for the youth who are often bullied out of elective politics in the country.

Article 97 provides that the 12 nominated MPs in the National Assembly be drawn from persons representing special interests.These are listed as the youth and persons with disabilities.

Article 98 provides for two youth, one woman and one  man, representatives in the Senate.There also sixteen special seats in the Senate and 47 in the National Assembly for women a category in which many youths fall in.

The introduction of dual citizenship also gives young people a chance to take up opportunities beyond the borders and easily come back home and get involved in national development.

Many may have reasons to reject the proposed law in August but the youth can ensure that the gains promised therein are not lost.

Send your questions and suggestions to: omathenge@ke.nationmedia.com

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PS: This article first appeared in the Buzz Magazine inside the Sunday Nation on June 6, 2010. Check out the next article this Sunday and remember to send your questions and suggestions to the address above.

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2 thoughts on “Katiba Baraza: Why going green is cool for the youth

  1. Politically oriented revolution is what is alive in Kenya today! I call it a ‘False Revolution.’ A common definition of politics is who gets what, when and how? This definition holds true even in the face of impending social change. Leaders will try to hijack the sentiments of change echoing across the land, the systematic birth of new ways across the nation, they will try to own it, control it, modify it and front it as they own. In this way they protect their old ways in new circumstances!

    They will then say to the people that it is they who brought revolution. They will do whatever it takes to achieve this end even if it means suppressing a minority, putting down an opposition force or forsaking the fundamental values of they own people just because they can. To them this is a matter of survival for if they do not and the people realize that they have the power then their ill acquired wealth, future ambitions and hold on power is at risk.

    Revolution belongs to the people; only they can spur it, lead it and see it through. True revolution can only be when it is the people who dictate what is done, how it is done and when it is done. It is only when the people achieve a common ground through open discourse, due regard for each other and having a common purpose that true change is alive. It cannot be done any other way!

    When a section of the people is ignored, when the seeds of discord and future conflict are sowed, when people forgo their instinctive sense of right and wrong for the promise of prosperity (that will be short-lived), when a people chart a way forward informed by fear of a repeat of violent conflicts in the past; It is at this point that the people create historical injustices and welcome imminent disaster, for their fear should have been replaced by courage, their history of past injustices replaced by an unrelenting resolve for justice for all people.

    Remember that a people who move forward in fear during the day will fight amongst themselves in the night.

    The people feel that this is the only time they can get a constitution only because they see that this is the only time the political elite, the autocratic society, and the ruling class have come together to form a formidable force in propagating for change. The people feel that the politicians are for once speaking in one voice and to them it is the first time that they are speaking for them, i.e. giving them what they need; a new constitution.

    “Nothing is harder to direct than a man in prosperity; and none more easily directed than one in adversity” – Plutarch, Ancient Greek Philosopher

    The rationale that informs the people’s decision to back the draft is the fact that the political elite may never come to a consensus again, the elite may never decide to relinquish power. Indeed one fact holds true, if this constitution is as a direct result of consensus building amongst the political class, then this is not only our best opportunity to get but our last chance.

    However, if the constitution is people driven, people inspired and a reflection of every Kenyan, then this line of thought does not hold. In this case the people must and will have their way. The political class will be forced to listen and step aside as change sweeps over the nation. This is True Revolution. If the draft constitution is rejected, a new constitution can be passed in as little as little time as the people dictate for they will have discovered their sovereign power.

    The people should realize that a new constitution is not a privilege bestowed upon them by the ruling class but an inalienable right. The people easy forget what is theirs, what has been theirs and will be for their children; CHANGE.

  2. Pingback: Katiba Baraza: Why going green is cool for the youth (via ) « 32countries

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