Youth council elections postponed again
The pending elections for the National Youth Council received another setback yesterday after the High Court stopped them until a case filed by 13 youth is determined. Judge Roselyne Wendoh temporarily stopped the Minister for Youth and Sports, the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and the Attorney General from facilitating the elections.
Wendo further rejected an application by a state counsel to consolidate the Nakuru case with another filed by a separate group of youth before the High Court in Nairobi. She directed that the matter be heard separately before her on October 11.
The court heard that the case brought by the Nakuru youth is an abuse of the court process. The state said the Minister for Youth Affairs had followed due process in gazetting the guidelines for the elections.
The acting head of youth empowerment at the ministry David Kebati said the youth should have used dispute resolution mechanisms outlined in the guidelines instead of moving to court. Kebati defended the minister’s decision to peg the structures of the youth council on the provincial administration saying the country is yet to adopt fully the devolved system of governance. However, the youths have argued that the guidelines for the council elections are unconstitutional as its structures are made up in line with the provincial administration's system.
They have accused the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports of ignoring the provisions of the 2010 constitution which provides for a devolved system of governance. Through their lawyer Wambeyi Makomere, the 13 youths want Judge Wendo to order that the elections be conducted in line with the devolved system of governance as enshrined in the constitution.
They have accused the government of centralizing the current structures of the youth council which would mean that existing youth structures at the grassroots would be excluded from decision making and participating in their right to run the youth council. They further fault a provision of the National Youth Council Act which gives the council’s national office the autonomy to establish branches as it may deem fit.
They want the court to find that provisions stating that representatives from the sub-locational to provincial level will work on a volunteer basis with no remuneration are infringing on their rights to fair remuneration. The ministry has however noted that the Act which founded the national youth council does not provide for remuneration of the grassroot officials.
The youths have requested Judge Wendo to make a declaration that election guidelines gazetted by the minister for youth affairs and sports on February 11 are unconstitutional null and void. They further want several provisions in the National Youth Council Act declared as unconstitutional thus necessitating an amendment to the act.