Revamp NYS to end graft
4 months ago, 18 Aug 21:59
Still reeling from two mega scandals in which billions of taxpayers' money was looted, the National Youth Service remains a hot potato.
This is why the public will be watching keenly to see if the two new officials entrusted with managing this youth empowerment agency can make a difference and enable it to efficiently discharge its mandate.
During the first scam, the NYS lost nearly Sh800 in fraudulent procurement of goods and services. And it got worse in the second round, when billions of shillings were illegally and irregularly paid out to crooked individuals and shadowy companies, some of which supplied air.
What is important for the NYS now, as the suspects are subjected to due process, and some of the loot hopefully recovered, is to embark on a bold new start that will be driven by an impeccable commitment to transparency and accountability.
New Youth Principal Secretary Francis Otieno and NYS Director-General Matilda Sakwa, we are told, have come to these positions with not just a wealth of experience, but also proven efficiency.
They are now in charge of a rotten institution and should work together to give it a fresh start.
When he was sworn in as the Youth PS, President Uhuru Kenyatta pointedly told Mr Otieno to "clean up the mess" at the NYS.
The President said he was aware that Mr Otieno was familiar with the challenges at the NYS and that he will be able to restore or come up with new programmes to strengthen the youth agency.
It's instructive that this briefing to the new PS followed a Cabinet meeting that approved the restructuring of the NYS to deal with its managerial and operational weaknesses.
Among the proposals to ease the running of the NYS is the establishment of an oversight board and making the director-general its chief executive officer.
An agency that was meant to equip youth with skills and ease the high rate of unemployment, the NYS has been riddled with graft, prompting calls for its disbandment.
Ms Sakwa and PS Otieno will be under intense pressure to restore the tainted image of the NYS.
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