I have raised several concerns about the incompetence by the County Government of Bungoma in laying down effective youth policies since devolution was established in 2013.
Bungoma County is one of those devolved governments that has the poorest development records concerning the youths.
If you ask what former Governor Kenneth Lusaka and incumbent Wycliffe Wangamati have successfully done in the youth docket, they will require a whole semester to outline any serious upgrades that are not even tangible on the ground – after 8 years of devolution.
Lack of effective communication and strategies has been the biggest undoing by both regimes with the relationship between the youth and the County vanishing into thin air every sunset.
However, my follow up has established that the problem may not entirely be that of the Governor but the MCAs who are mandated with passing the supplementary bills.
Budgets meant for the youth docket have mostly been frustrated by these callous MCAs for their selfish reasons.
Recently for example, the MCA shot down a Sh10 million budget meant for a Youth Talent Programme. According to the blueprint seen by this writer, the programme was meant to tap into talents including art, but the MCAs diverted those monies to other department including their own ward development.
Another project that the so-called legislators have frustrated is the Tujiajiri Programme where the County Government had allocated 9M and through the Mou, KCB was to add another 9M to make a total of 18M.The 9M was removed by the MCAs at the Assembly, forcing KCB to pull out of the MoU.
The condition was that the county has to contribute half the cash; if th County had 20M for the program, then KCB would top up another 20M. In this case, KCB would not ‘top up’ to an empty table.
Funding to local sports clubs like Bungoma Superstars, volleyball and hockey teams that represent the County at national leagues has also been curtailed.
VICTIMIZING THE YOUTH DEPARTMENT
The MCAs stopped the initiative, claiming it would be a pipeline for the County officials to squander the money, a narrative that has not applied to other projects that don’t entail the youth department.
According to Chief Officer for Youth and Sport- Carol Masete, the Sh5 million Ajira programme launched by Information and ICT CS Joe Mucheru was also strangled due to lack of budget to sustain the progress. The project was to train at least 200 youths drawn from all the 47 wards in the ICT sector and empower them with online jobs but it died off due to lack of extensive funding.
Last week, the court suspended the hiring of village admins across the County, an idea that has been fought by the MCAs.
Majority of these MCAs, as we can establish, are affiliated to Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula who is understood to be using his powers as Ford Kenya party leader (status quo) in blackmailing the MCAs to frustrate any the Governor’s development projects that may appear to boost the Governor’s score card.
As we speak, over 47 youths will not get their jobs as Ward admins because Wetang’ula and his crooked MCAs have decided so.
Last year, the Governor hd to force the County Football Tournament whose finals were held in Kimilili. The tournament was aimed at supporting grassroot talent across the County but with strong opposition from the MCAs.
It’s said that the MCAs have only been passing bills where their tumbocrat interests are. Any budget they think will not benefit them individually and not the thousands of the needy youth is either slashed or becomes null and void.
EAT THE STADIUMS?
As we speak, we are only remaining with one financial year to the next election and nothing to celebrate for the youth.
The only projects linked to the youths that the bogus MCAs have passed include the Kanduyi stadium, Nalondo Stadium and the Maeni Youth Centres which are all still under construction, but the question the incorrigible MCAs have refused to ask themselves is, will the youth eat those Stadiums?
While MCAs in other counties are rolling out serious empowerment programs for the youths, the hungry Bungoma ones have not approved any income-generating programs for the young people, reason being, to serve their master Wetang’ula who has never empowered any youth in his 30 year old career in politics.
It’s high time these impervious MCAs chose between serving Wetang’ula or the 100,000 youths who are suffering in this County.
And to the fellow youth, the next general election is just around the corner. Now you know who your real enemy is. It’s up to you to send them home or retain them and suffer the rest of the other 5 years asking Blogger Wakajuaness to highlight your plight.