President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the National Land Commission (NLC) to regularise the status of all land belonging to the Kenya Scouts Association (KSA) and hand it back before the year ends.
The president issued the directive on Saturday, when he presided over this year’s KSA Patron’s Day and presented awards to members for their contributions to the scouts movement and the country.
Mr Kenyatta said the Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs ministry will work with the association to convert the land, where possible, into fully operational centres for scouting programmes.
“This is to give the growing number of scouts safe and convenient spaces to carry out their activities,” said the president, who is the Patron of the KSA.
Mr Kenyatta pointed out that being a scout is supposed to be an added advantage when one is seeking employment, especially in the disciplined forces and in public service
As such he directed that scouts be given priority in recruitment.
“If there are two applicants for police, the military or any government job who have the same marks, the one who was a scout should have the edge,” he said at State House in Nairobi.
He agreed to the association’s request to make the Patron’s Day an annual event.
President Kenyatta also promised that the government will double its financial allocation to the association, which he commended for its prudent use of public funds.
The president said that the estimated Sh105 million that is allocated to the KSA annually has been put to good use and led to a significant increase in the number of young people who have become members.
“The increase of membership from 125,000 in 2013 to 1.4 million, making it the largest youth organisation in Kenya and in Africa today, is no mean achievement. It means money has been spent well,” President Kenyatta said.
“Because you have used the funds well, starting this coming financial year, we shall double the allocation to ensure this association continues to do the good work it is doing.”
The president issued a stern warning to young people who engage in unlawful activities, saying such vices will not be tolerated.
President Kenyatta emphasised that those who engage in these activities will be dealt with severely and according to the law.
“I tell you young men and women, you are our future and we are proud of you. But I also equally send a very strong warning to those young fellows who think they can indiscriminately involve themselves in negative activities,” he said.
Recognising the movement’s potential to support the government in instilling discipline among youths, President Kenyatta directed the Teachers Service Commission to deploy two teachers to each county to coordinate scouting programmes in schools.
He urged schools to use the movement to culture the culture of discipline in schools.
Margaret Kobia, the Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary, said the government appreciates the methods and procedures that the scouting movement uses to teach fundamental principles.
Prof. Kobia noted that these teaching are key to national development.
“Virtues such as integrity, patriotism, equality, dignity and social justice are needed in our youth for attainment of a just, equitable and cohesive society as envisaged in Kenya’s Vision 2030 development blueprint,” she said.
Other speakers included the KSA chief commissioner, who gave an update on the association’s activities and thanked President Kenyatta and the Government for enhancing financial allocation to the association, a move that has enabled it to increase the number of scouts in the country.