Kenya: Government Now Dissolves Children's Cabinet

The Government yesterday dissolved the much-touted Children's Cabinet, saying the children's advocacy outfit had become an embarrassment to the country.

The Director of Children's Department, Mr S ole Kwallah, said in a statement the boys and girls in the cabinet had become "so much irresponsibly misguided that I am personally shocked".

He said in total disregard to protocol, the minors had been writing to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzania counterpart, Benjamin Mkapa, seeking favours.

They have also been writing to the mayors of Kampala and Dar-es-Salaam, and to Unicef's Executive Director, Ms Carol Bellamy.

At one time, said Kwallah, a vice president of the cabinet demanded a free air ticket from Air Tanzania, pretending he had an appointment with Mkapa. The airline availed the ticket but the boy never saw the President.

Said Kwallah: "A Children's cabinet with credibility ought to demonstrate proper social tenets and decorum in order to lead other children as good role models and to avoid embarrassment to the Kenyan people and their Government."

Quoting powers conferred under Section 38 of the Children's Act, Kwallah said the cabinet is henceforth prohibited from assembling, paying courtesy calls and writing to any person on matters pertaining to children.

He directed that Senatorial Children's Actions be piloted in all provinces from August 1 with a view to forming children's councils, parliaments and cabinets in-keeping with global trends. The official said the dissolved cabinet has been existing as a Nairobi outfit which is "not quite acceptable to majority of children".

At the same time, Kwallah accused a Nairobi-based media outlet of hijacking the cabinet and "misleading unsuspecting children in a caricature equitable to the motive of an agent provocateur".

He said the media owner was being investigated over funds given by Unicef and GTZ to host the National Children's Forum in Gigiri, Nairobi, in August last year.

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