Children’s parliament launched
By Phares Mutembei
Kenyan children made history last Tuesday when they finally realised their dream of formulating a national children’s parliament.
In a historic show of democracy and vision, the children elected members of the first Kenya Children National Assembly (KCNA), last week.
They elected their president, speaker and clerk of the assembly and cabinet secretaries and other officials. The new children’s body is expected to engage children on matters affecting them.
The Deputy Speaker of Kenya National Assembly, Farah Maalim officially launched the KCNA in a ceremony that was also attended by Assistant Minister in the ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, Atanas Keya, the Permanent Secretary Dr James Nyikal, Secretary of Children Affairs Prof Jacquiline Oduol and National Children Participation Committee chairperson, Leah Ambwaya.
Importantly, the children also elected representatives of children living with disability and those from marginalised areas.
Janet Mkandoe, a student at Franz Joseph School, Ukunda, was voted the new President and Mwanahamisi Adam of Moi Forces Academy, Mombasa, the Speaker.
“As the president, I have embarked on addressing critical issues affecting children such as child labour and the right to education and especially girl child education,” Mkandoe, who hails from Taita Taveta said in her inaugural address.
“I promise to serve all Kenyan children. I assure Kenyan them that all issues that affect us will be addressed,” she added.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, the Children’s Department, Parliament and civil society groups support the children’s assembly.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Farah Maalim was full of praise for the children who were elected to the assembly.
“You have elected a girl as the president and the speaker is also a girl who comes from marginalised areas. You have taught us a lesson on merit and unity,” he said.
“As the speaker, I shall handle deliberations from our debates in a democratic manner, without any discrimination. And I shall keep order in the House!” said Mwanahamisi Adam.
Hope Nyokabi, of Lavington Primary School is a cabinet minister.
“Her Excellency the President has not assigned us any duties yet! I’m hoping to get the Finance Ministry portfolio. I think most children do not believe the Government when it says it has no money. The Government has a lot of money, the only problem is they don’t know how to use it well!” said Nyokabi.