Mark Njogu, a youthful aspirant for the Kirinyaga Senatorial seat has urged all counties to adopt more robust youth-friendly policies to address issues facing the youths in the country.
According to Mark, most Counties in Kenya do not have youth policies that give guidelines on how to address youth issues at the county level.
It is for this reason that Mark believes counties have continually lagged behind in tackling youth-specific issues.
“The youths have forever been marginalized at the county level, especially on matters pertaining employment, county decision-making boards, and committees, tendering among others,” says Mark.
A report tabled in Parliament in November 2020 on the state of national security points to youth unemployment as the major factor in the worrying surge in criminal activities.
The report tabled by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his State of the Nation address reveals that crime increased by a whole 5.8 percent in 2019.
The young Kirinyaga politician says the excessive clearance requirements in the counties for youths to access government jobs and tendering business are unnecessary.
“County governments are closest to the neighborhoods and communities in which their citizens live and are often the most visible to youth. They, therefore, have an indispensable role in fostering the inclusion of young people into society,” he says.
Mark suggests that the relevant policies should be amended to give more strength to county youth policies. This would ensure that youth voices are heard at the county level.
“Youth participation is crucial to realizing the objectives of the Kenya Youth Development and should be seen as a process through which young people influence and share control over the decisions, plans, and resources that affect them.”
According to Mr. Njogu, if the youths are encouraged and given the tools to fully participate in society, they will become more knowledgeable about their rights, more responsible citizens, and often more self-confident.
According to the KNBS labor force survey of 2019, the highest proportion of unemployed Kenyans fall in the age groups of 20-24 and 25-29.
With the shrinking number of formal jobs, both the national and county governments have been under pressure to put in place business policies that encourage the youth to pursue self-employment.