On Thursday, a youth initiative dubbed Tuinuke presented their submission to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) as the team formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader, Raila Odinga, drums up changes they would want to be made in the constitution.
Tuinuke, a youth-led organization concerned with the economic, political and social issues affecting the youth of Kenya, led by Chairperson, Wambui Nyutu, proposed seven changes to the constitution.
First, they proposed that the leader of opposition be automatically nominated as the leader of minority in the National Assembly, while his running mate to be nominated to the Senate as the leader of the minority party.
According to the initiative, this will strengthen the opposition to enable it to keep the government in check.
Their second change targets the formation of the cabinet by a sitting president. The group proposed to have cabinet secretaries picked from elected Members of Parliament. This would enable leaders to best understand the expectations of Wanjiku (common citizen) making the leaders directly answerable to the electorate.
The team further dived into matters devolution. In light of this matter, they proposed that the number of counties is reduced to a manageable number that takes advantage of economies of scale.
They want the number of constituencies and wards to be reduced too, without compromising on representation.
Other changes suggested around devolution were; abolishment of nomination slots at the county level, scrapping off the position of a deputy governor and county public service boards so that the counties employ through the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Further, on devolution, their submission called for the allocation of enough resources to the Senate to enable it to perform its watchdog function effectively, by ensuring governors and county governments spend public resources in a sustainable way. They also suggested that 70 per cent of resources be allocated to counties for development and not salaries.
The team’s fourth proposal was on the critical sector, Health. The youth initiative felt that health function is so vital that its management cannot be second-guessed. Of all the aspects of devolution, devolving health, though well-intended, has done more harm than good. Employer-employee strife has characterized the health sector affecting the services of Kenyans.
To this end, they felt that health should no longer be devolved, but should be restored back to the hands of the national government.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief, Raila Odinga, with some members of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) at a past meeting in State House, Nairobi
They further called for the inclusion of youth in the National Assembly and Senate through nomination. They contended that two seats for youth, for example, at the senate are not enough.
On the Punguza Mzigo proposal by Ekuru Aukot, they submitted that the country should be overly careful so that the control of the wage bill does not compromise on the representation of the precious youth and women.
The team lastly urged BBI to embrace the constitution of other jurisdictions like Rwanda and Tanzania, and include duties and responsibilities for the youth.
This can be settled with an amendment to the constitution that outlines the youth’s agreed duties and responsibilities such as respecting state property.