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By Stephen Makabila

Senior writer

The Government’s claim of a campaign to destabilise it through youth funding by the US has drawn dismissals rather than solidarity.

Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua on Tuesday claimed some "foreign powers were behind a scheme to topple the Grand Coalition".

Fingers were immediately pointed at the Sh3.6 billion ‘Yes Youth Can’ fund launched by American Ambassador Michael Ranneberger on December 16, last year, to educate the youth on their civic rights.

The funds are believed to be the ones causing the current storm.

Mr Ranneberger has since denied allegations of working against the Government, arguing the US and the Kenyan Government are stolen partners.

Munene Macharia of the United States International University argues youth funding is a normal activity that cannot distabilise the Government. "What is happening is simply a growing fiction just because the US has funded organisations that are critical of the Government. Being critical and plotting to overthrow a government are two different things," says Prof Macharia.

Critical mass

East African Law Society Vice-President James Mwamu agrees with him. "Funding for youth and other development groups has been there for some time now. How comes the Government wakes up now to claim its being undermined?" asks Mr Mwamu. University of Nairobi Political Scientist Adams Oloo says the youth are a critical mass, but may not necessarily propel one of their own to leadership in 2012.

"All potential presidential contenders apart from William Ruto and Eugene Wamalwa are above 50 years," says Dr Oloo.

He says the US only wants to use the youth to break ethnicity and regionalism in local politics, and allegations of plotting to topple the Government do not hold any water.

Former chief of protocol in the Prime Minister’s office, Tony Gachoka says anyone should ignore youth at his or her own peril.

"We have the required numbers and what is needed is organised leadership," he says.

Mutua said the Government was concerned over foreign attempts to create despondency against it in the guise of youth empowerment.

He said the Government was aware more than Sh1.6 billion had been extended to youth groups.