SONU
Mr Owino, the new MP for Embakasi East, is a formidable force in his own right.

His captivating style of public speaking and other theatrics have earned him the national spotlight.

Mr Owino honed his leadership skills at the University of Nairobi, where he was a student leader.

When he was the student organisation Sonu’s chairman for three terms, he famously coined “Tibim” — a phrase that has become the Opposition’s catchword.

These young energetic MPs have their work clearly cut out for them.

JOBS
For instance, graduates face a Sh5,000 penalty for every month they fail to repay their study loans from the State-run Helb.

They usually have a one-year grace period to start repaying the loan.

However, a majority of the graduates take up to four years to secure a job — and these are the lucky ones.

This is an issue of great concern to most youth, who expect Mr Owino, particularly, to ensure that the Bill that was meant to protect such graduates from the punitive Helb penalties is assented to by the President, having previously failed.

AGE
The young MPs should also constantly remind the government of the promise to grow the ICT sector, creation of a million jobs per year, improvement of the Youth Development Fund and more opportunities in public procurement.

Most of the Kenyan youth do not benefit from State tenders despite the government policy that at least 30 per cent of tenders be awarded to them.

Retirement age is another issue that requires proper dissection by the ‘Young Turks’.

At the moment, 1.2 million people are above 60 — the retirement age in Kenya — out of 44 million Kenyans.

According to the latest government statistics, the number is expected to reach 2.2 million in 10 years.

DEBATE
According to a Gallup poll, the average retirement age in the United States is 62 while the United Kingdom intends to raise theirs to 68.

This is pretty understandable, bearing in mind that the US and most of Europe do not have the the ‘youth bulge’ situation as in our case.

If our leaders can lower the retirement age to 55, that will open more opportunities for young Kenyans.

For all its youthful MPs, Kenyans hope that debate on the floor of the 12th Parliament will be more constructive, robust and captivating that ever before.

Mr Nkuubi is executive director, Governance Pillar Organisation, Nairobi. [email protected]

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