President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday held a question-and-answer session with over 600 young people from the Coast region at State House, Mombasa.
He urged the youth to work with the government in finding solutions to problems facing them and the country.
Mr Kenyatta said his government was confident that working closely with the youth would resolve most of the challenges facing Kenya.
“Let us not be a nation that only complains but also one that actually tackles and offers solutions to problems,” he said.
The 610 young men and women were from the six coastal counties of Mombasa, Lamu, Kilifi, Tana River, Kwale and Taita-Taveta.
President Kenyatta and various Cabinet Secretaries responded to questions raised by the youth, ranging from the 30 per cent allocation of all Government procurement to the youth, women and people with disability to unemployment, training and the fight against drug and substance abuse in the Coast.
The Head of State said data on Government procurement for youth, women and people with disability will be published in the newspapers.
This will show how each department and ministry has been facilitating the programme.
“Those who will not have met the 30 per cent target will answer for it,” he said.
President Kenyatta also directed that young people doing excellent work in the community and volunteers be identified for national honours.
He told an official in his office that the youth category should be created to honour the most outstanding person, instructing him to work with County Commissioners in identifying the young people who stand out in what they do.
The President also said any Kenyan who has any information on corruption should send it to his office and “there will be no victimisation whatsoever”.
On issuance of national Identity cards, President Kenyatta ordered a team to be formed to ensure the youth who are of age get the document so that they are not harassed by security agencies.
The Head of State also discussed the progress the Government has made in addressing the land problem in the coastal region.
“This is the first Government to give the answer to the land question. We have dealt with the Lamu issues where title deeds for more than 350,000 acres irregularly acquired were cancelled; progress at the Waitiki farm in Mombasa is good and in Kilifi County 2,000 title deeds are ready for issuance,” President Kenyatta said.
Mr Badi Mwalimu Mohamed from Mombasa asked the President to tap the talents of the youth, which was being lost through unemployment, radicalisation, terrorism and crime.
“If you turn these talents into professionalism, these problems of terrorism or insecurity will be curbed. Through your office you should be able to assist us by constructing a talent centre in Mombasa,” Mr Mohamed said.
In response, the President assured the youth that the first talent academy will be built in Mombasa to nurture and develop those gifted in various areas. Other centres will be built in other counties.
“One of the things we have as a country is very talented young men and women. We have the talents and we need to nurture them,” he said.
On the war against drugs, the President said rehabilitation centres will be built in Mombasa and Lamu.
“But the war needs to go to the drug barons. That way, we can be sure that the war will be won,” the President told the gathering.
However, he lamented that not enough had been done.
“Our war should be with the barons. A lot of Kenyans are disappointed in that we have not been able to tackle these individuals,” he said.
He urged the Interior CS, County Commissioner Nelson Marwa and the whole administration to take up the challenge and focus on the fight against the drug lords.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala disclosed that the Ministry of Mining — which he headed before his recent transfer to Tourism — had trained and given mining licences to 2,400 young people in Taita-Taveta.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said his ministry will next week hold talks with a technology company to provide Wi-Fi in every county.
He challenged the young people to take advantage of the opportunities offered by information and communication technology.