On Wednesday, the 21st November 2020 has earned itself a place in Kenya’s
history and especially to its most vibrant population, students. It’s the day
H.E the President and the former Prime Minister received the Building
Bridges Initiative (BBI) report after months of speculation, hearsay and
apprehension. Most affected by the delayed release of the report were
students who had seen the BBI presentations as an opportunity to address
long-standing grievances by offering lasting solutions.
Through the Kenya University Students Organization (KUSO), which is the
giant students’ representative body, students had made their presentations
on two different occasions, with the former Prime Minister and handshake
co-principal making a special acknowledgment of our efforts in making
students voices be heard in the national dialogue. It is therefore a win to
students to have all our recommendations captured in BBI’s final report!
While Kenyans of different cadres read and synthesize the report, we make
special appeal to the political class to resist the urge to dilute the contents of
the report to align with their misleading hustler campaign that rejects long-term solutions and advocates for enslavement through tokenism and
seasonal philanthropy. It is in the best interest of all Kenyans to be allowed
time to read and make their informed judgments regarding the document
that envisions an empowered youthful population.
Immediately the document was availed for Kenyans to read, KUSO through
its top officials, identified key issues relating to students and youths in
general, that featured in the BBI Report as per the recommendations that we
The most prominent youth-elevating recommendations captured being:
Youths will be given a 7-Year Tax Holiday once they establish a start
A Four-Year grace period for repayment of HELB loan will be given
from the day of graduation.
A Youth Commission shall be established as a constitutional
commission to ensure the mainstreaming of the youth perspectives in
planning and decision making.
We, thus, welcome the BBI’s proposal to establish office of the Youth
Commissioner in mainstreaming the youth voice in public discourses. We
understand that this goes a long way towards redefining the hustler narrative
that is nearly enslaving youths and corroding their potential. We further
support the one salary proposal as a roadmap towards taming the rising wage
bill while simultaneously promoting efficiency and effectiveness in service
It’s also extremely vital to assure and reassure Kenyans, students being
barometers of knowledge that they are, will forever stand for progress not
retrogress. Our eyes are set on a broad and secure path that leads to economic
healing, equity, equality, peace and reconciliation, social cohesion and unity,
acceleration of economic policies and above all, empowerment of the youth.
Given the timing of the BBI process with regard to the next election,
students will take their rightful place during the popularizing and passage of
the report since it will set the ball rolling for the country’s political and
The BBI moment has afforded students and the youth a rare opportunity to
be part of a positive change process and that is an opportunity we gladly
embrace. BBI is our voice and we must be heard.