Economy, National Cohesion

Why Our Youth Must Explore These Critical Questions That Inform the Suggestion of a Popular Initiative Towards Building A Stronger Future For Kenya

Two thou­sand years ago, Jesus famous­ly said that ‘The Sab­bath was made for man, not man for the Sab­bath.’ At the heart of this asser­tion was the prin­ci­ple that the Sab­bath was meant to help peo­ple, not bur­den them. The same thing applies to nation­al con­sti­tu­tions. They are meant to help cit­i­zens, not bur­den them.

That’s why after thir­teen years, time is ripe for us to sin­cere­ly eval­u­ate and choose to fur­ther devel­op our evolv­ing con­sti­tu­tion to adapt to our chang­ing needs and cir­cum­stances of our fifty mil­lion Kenyans, par­tic­u­lar­ly the young people.

Sev­en­ty-five per­cent of Kenyans are below the age of 35. Among them are my two daugh­ters and son. They are the biggest ben­e­fi­cia­ries of a vibrant con­sti­tu­tion that safe­guards their liveli­hoods. This con­sti­tu­tion­al moment is their moment. Ten years from now in 2033, many of these youth will be in their prime enjoy­ing the fruits of seeds that plant­ed. At that time, our lead­ers today will like­ly, be out of active politics.

Against this back­drop, this con­sti­tu­tion­al moment shouldn’t be reduced to par­ti­san moments which may lead to an influx of lit­i­ga­tion dra­ma. That’s why I am enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly part of a team of Kenyans who con­sti­tute the Kat­i­ba Pop­u­lar Ini­tia­tive. The team seeks to lay a stronger con­sti­tu­tion­al foun­da­tion upon which we can all build a great Nation devoid of any form of polit­i­cal shenanigans.

Unde­ni­ably, our great nation is grap­pling with the effects of these four major Socio-Eco­nom­ic com­pli­ca­tions: Unem­ploy­ment; Pub­lic Debt; Pub­lic Wage Bill and a Frag­ile Tax Base. Truth be told, these issues are excru­ci­at­ing Kenyans thir­teen years lat­er even after the pro­mul­ga­tion of one of the world’s best con­sti­tu­tions ever. Is it not there­fore the God giv­en oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­sid­er con­sti­tu­tion­al means of tack­ling them ? Did we not see the Church come up with a code of ethics to self-reg­u­late its gov­er­nance after all oth­er nat­ur­al and spir­i­tu­al efforts seemed to be failing?

We must there­fore earnest­ly pose fun­da­men­tal ques­tions: are there cer­tain con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­vi­sions that aren’t address­ing the press­ing needs of our young peo­ple? As regards, Integri­ty, is it not pos­si­ble to con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly rein­force agen­cies like EACC that are tasked with fight­ing graft? Is it not pos­si­ble to entrench strin­gent sanc­tions against State Offi­cers who vio­late the Lead­er­ship and Integri­ty Chap­ter of our constitution?

Regard­ing nation­al elec­tions, why does every elec­toral cycle ush­er in chaos, con­flict, destruc­tion and death? Answers to these ques­tions may judi­cious­ly inform poten­tial amend­ments to our constitution.

I should note at this point that amend­ment is part of the con­sti­tu­tion­al imple­men­ta­tion process. That’s why there are con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­vi­sions for con­sti­tu­tion­al amendment.

Relat­ed to lead­er­ship, can our Exec­u­tive be more inclu­sive to avoid the win­ner takes it all approach that augurs ill for our mul­ti-eth­nic society?

Since we have expe­ri­enced the pow­er of devo­lu­tion, can we now restruc­ture fund­ing in a way that allo­ca­tion goes down to the ward lev­el?  Can we heal the chal­lenge of unem­ploy­ment by estab­lish­ing a Self-Employ­ment Fund to facil­i­tate youth and women eco­nom­ic empow­er­ment endeavors?

Because Pub­lic debt remains a thorn in our flesh, can we estab­lish a con­sti­tu­tion­al cap and clear guide­lines for bor­row­ing? Can we give the par­lia­ment the pow­er to man­age the debt ceil­ing and thresh­old for such approvals includ­ing domes­tic borrowing?

Regard­ing huge pub­lic wage bill, can we entrench aus­ter­i­ty mea­sures as a con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­vi­sion? Can we restruc­ture and merge pub­lic offices that have over­lap­ping and dupli­cat­ed roles?

Observ­ing our tax regime, can we con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly expand our tax base? Can we effect lib­er­al, flex­i­ble, and inno­v­a­tive pol­i­cy on social and eco­nom­ic rights that also deal with the neg­a­tive effects of cli­mate change? Can we con­sid­er what Pope Fran­cis has just remind­ed us that efforts to save the plan­et are urgent and are no longer deferable.

These are some of the hearti­ly ques­tions that I pose for the youth of this great nation to con­sid­er ris­ing to the occa­sion, embrace this con­sti­tu­tion­al moment and move towards a pop­u­lar ini­tia­tive for pos­ter­i­ty. Think green, act green!

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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