Maisha Yetu was well represented in the recent Ahadi conference on youth and the socio-economic impact of peaceful and fair elections in Kenya. Our Programs Officer Muki Garang opened the conference with a powerful perfomance on the youth being the leaders of today and not tomorrow.
Thereafter Dr.James Nyoro MD of The Rockefeller foundation in Africa gave his key note address urging Kenya’s youth to, “identify the causes for the negative energy of what transpired in 2007.” In his analysis, Dr. Nyoro said, “two out of three Kenyans are young people. Yet this segment of Kenya’s population is not participating actively in the economy.” In conclusion, Dr. Nyoro finished by quoting Muki by saying peace efforts requires input from all of Kenyans.
Judge of the High Court, Justice David Majanja was there to represent the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga. Justice Majanja announced that “the judicial reforms are now over and the Judiciary is now dealing with transformation and effective service delivery to Kenyans. The Chief Justice Willy Mutunga recently unveiled the transformative framework, to make the Judiciary more accessible and accountable to Kenyans.” In his speech, Majanja elaborated on Mutunga’s mission, “The Chief Justice requires that we the Judges leave the comforts of our hallowed chambers and interact with the Mwananchi, case in point my attendance at this Ahadi peace conference.”
Justice Majanja also emphasised, “with the new reforms in place, anyone can now file a petition on election anomalies within 14 days of arbitration.”
A cross section of the delegates in attendance were able to raise their concerns during open discussions sessions with the judge. They raised the important issue of having high courts all across Kenya as access to justice is a constitutional right for all Kenyans. In response, Justice Majanja pointed out that, “some of these reforms have been put into action like the recent appointment of 120 magistrates. He added that, “it will take additional time to effect these changes due to serious under investment on the part of the government on infrastructure and human resource.”
In his presentation, Dr. X.N. Iraki encouraged youth delegates to develop an interest in innovations within the science and technology sector. He provided comparisons of different countries, in terms of their GDP, attributing the economic successes of Japan, China and the United States to innovation. Over the course of the two-day conference, other speakers also tackled key issues from the role of the Civil Society in contributing towards peaceful elections (Atsango Chesoni, Director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission) to citizen participation in these processes (Daudi Were, Ushahidi)