Public Service, Performance and Delivery Management Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has stated that the government may send National Youth Service (NYS) officers to the war-torn Caribbean nation of Haiti as part of Kenya’s UN-backed security mission.
Speaking on Thursday at the launch of the NYS Interventions for Agriculture and Food Security in Kitale, CS Kuria stated that if implemented, this would be part of the ruling administration’s plan to end youth unemployment.
The tough-talking, controversial Cabinet Secretary went on to justify the move, claiming that he is under strict presidential orders not to rest until every young person has a legitimate job to keep them out of trouble.
“I’m here to get jobs for the youths, and anywhere I hear there’s an opportunity, as long as it’s not drugs, I’m taking the youth…even if that’s in Haiti, we must have NYS…our youth must get jobs,” he stated.
Kuria also advocated for a multi-sectoral approach in which NYS officers would participate in the food valuation chain while earning money.
“We will have a Memorandum of Understanding between Kenya Seed Company and the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) to employ the NYS as seedling propagators,” said the CS adding; “They will not be working for free! They have to be paid.”
Kuria, who has previously declared himself the NYS’s chief ambassador, wants the group to be taught agricultural extension roles in order to sell propagated seedlings at a reasonable price.
His remarks about sending NYS officers as far as Haiti come at a time when Kenyans are divided over whether to send Kenyan police to the Caribbean country at all.
Several leaders have expressed concerns about the Haiti mission, with many calling it a mistake and citing Kenya’s lack of preparedness to combat gangs and banditry within its borders.
“We have security issues every other day. People are killed by the roadside during Pokot, Turkana, and Samburu banditries. We haven’t been able to fix that problem ourselves, so I wonder what makes us think we can go into Haiti? These are not just any ordinary thugs,” Ekuru Aukot, Thirdway Alliance party leader, previously said.
The Kenyan government has been barred from sending police to Haiti by the Nairobi High Court, while the National Security Council has petitioned Parliament to approve the move.