Raila defends his promises to the youth, pledges cabinet positions if elected president
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga has promised to allocate four positions in his cabinet to the youth if elected president, stating he has always been aware of their needs from his time in office as Prime Minister.
Raila who was addressing youth from Mt Kenya in a Tuesday, October 12 meeting in Nairobi argued that he is well aware of the problems the youth face.
“When I was the prime minister, I had roundtable meetings with the business community and also the youth. The roundtables were being held quarterly so that we can get feedback from the youth on what problems they are facing and what we are doing. It is something I have tried before and will be part of my policy,” Raila said.
The former Prime Minister stated that with the youth constituting over 70 per cent of the country's population, the government ought to prioritise their needs.
"On the allocation of cabinet positions, I can say there will be more than four for the youth. If you don’t give them (youth) education and the necessary skills, they become drug unto the society but if properly empowered they become a proper source for wealth creation," the ODM leader said.
Raila further said that the youth have been misused by the political class, adding the country needs to put into good use their energy.
“The youth can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you make use of them… up to now the use has been a curse because they have not been given the requisite tools to be able to contribute well to the society,” Raila said.
In a separate statement made on Sunday, September 19 Raila also proposed the establishment of a Youth Commission which will advise both national and county governments on policies and programs that secure sustainable livelihoods for the youth.
"Ease of Doing Business in Kenya must begin giving particular attention to and providing accountability mechanism for how easy it is for young people to start a venture and build a business. The Tax Holiday for Youth businesses must be a reality, but that is just a start," he said.
Raila also said youth should have easy access to ICT, entrepreneurship training, and guidance and counselling on drugs and substance abuse, HIV/AIDS prevention among others.
"Maintain data bank on skilled youth, source support, including extending specific incentives to SMEs ran by craftsmen and artisans and ensure that their passions become professions, industries and jobs," he added.
The ODM leader also proposed a review of HELB Loan by expanding the limit to reflect the cost of living in Kenya as it evolves, removing the interest rates accrued and CRB listing of the graduates.