Wednesday, the 21st November 2020 has earned itself a place in Kenya’s history and especially to its most vibrant population, students. It’s the day H.E the President and the former Prime Minister received the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report after months of speculation, hearsay and apprehension. Most affected by the delayed release of the report were students who had seen the BBI presentations as an opportunity to address long-standing grievances by offering lasting solutions.
Through the Kenya University Students Organization (KUSO), which is the giant students’ representative body, students had made their presentations on two different occasions, with the former Prime Minister and handshake co-principal making a special acknowledgement of our efforts in making students voices are heard in the national dialogue. It is, therefore, a win to students to have all our recommendations captured in BBI’s final report!
While Kenyans of different cadres read and synthesize the report, we make a special appeal to the political class to resist the urge to dilute the contents of the report to align with their misleading hustler campaign that rejects long-term solutions and advocates for enslavement through tokenism and seasonal philanthropy. It is in the best interest of all Kenyans to be allowed time to read and make their informed judgments regarding the document that envisions an empowered youthful population.
Immediately the document was availed for Kenyans to read, KUSO through its top officials identified key issues relating to students and youths in general, that featured in the BBI Report as per the recommendations that we had presented.
The most prominent youth-elevating recommendations captured being:
- Youths will be given a 7-Year Tax Holiday once they establish a startup business.
- A Four-Year grace period for repayment of HELB loan will be given from the day of graduation.
- A Youth Commission shall be established as a constitutional commission to ensure the mainstreaming of the youth perspectives in planning and decision making.
We, thus, welcome the BBI’s proposal to establish the office of the Youth Commissioner in mainstreaming the youth voice in public discourses. We understand that this goes a long way towards redefining the hustler narrative that is nearly enslaving youths and corroding their potential. We further support the one salary proposal as a roadmap towards taming the rising wage bill while simultaneously promoting efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.
It’s also extremely vital to assure and reassure Kenyans, students being barometers of knowledge that they are, will forever stand for progress not retrogress. Our eyes are set on a broad and secure path that leads to economic healing, equity, equality, peace and reconciliation, social cohesion and unity, acceleration of economic policies and above all, empowerment of the youth.
Given the timing of the BBI process with regard to the next election, students will take their rightful place during the popularizing and passage of the report since it will set the ball rolling for the country’s political and economic future.
The BBI moment has afforded students and the youth a rare opportunity to be part of a positive change process and that is an opportunity we gladly embrace. BBI is our voice and we must be heard.
Finally, as KUSO, we hereby and categorically state the following:
- Every Kenyan of good intent to move with speed and critically read the Building Bridges Initiative report. Read. Analyze. Understand. Enlighten. Support!
- BBI aims at renegotiating a radical rethinking of the conduct of politics in Kenya. After every election, our country needs peace for economic catch-up. It’s important we leave out political camps as we make decisions. prioritize we, above self.
- BBI recognizes the philosophical ideal that Kenya is bigger than an
individual and therefore the welfare of all Kenyans should come before self-interests.
- Politicians to desist from falsehoods and mongering of fake and
corrupted information on the contents of the BBI report.
- Read the report!