Selena Gomez, one of America’s most-followed celebrities on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook with a combined following of 319 million, has urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to fulfill a promise he had made on December 2, 2018.
President Kenyatta had — in a video address to thousands of African youths who attended the “Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100” in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 2, 2018 — said Kenya will, in her subsequent national budget statements, increase the funds allocated to education from 7 per cent of the country’s total budget to 30 per cent.
While pledging to have Kenya surpass the global expectation of 20 percent national budget allocation to education, the Head of State said: “I want to go one step further, and this year I pledge, to you my fellow global citizens, that in Kenya our education budget will be closer to 30 per cent of our total budget, making it probably the highest on the African continent.”
Having made the pledge when the 2018/2019 financial budget was already being adhered to, Kenyans and global citizens expected that the budget of the 2019/2020 financial year would factor in the president’s promise.
In the 2019/2020 financial year, the Kenyan Government allocated Ksh208.9 billion of the Ksh3 trillion national budget, representing 6.96 per cent. That allocation missed Uhuru’s pledge of 30 per cent by Ksh691.1 billion. Had the Government endorsed the president’s pledge, then Education would have been allocated at least Ksh900 billion of the Ksh3 trillion national budget for the 2019/2020 fiscal year.
And because President Kenyatta made the promise when the whole world was watching, award-winning American singer and songwriter, Selena Gomez, has put the Head of State to task to explain what led to him not keeping his pledge.
Selena, who toured Kenya last December, visited schools under construction in collaboration with the WE Charity.
WE Charity, formerly known as Free The Children, is an international development charity and youth empowerment movement founded in 1995 by human rights advocates Marc and Craig Kielburger. The organization implements development programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America, focusing on education, water, health, food and economic opportunity.
Selena, an ambassador of WE Charity, in her recent post on Instagram said her trip to Kenya last December made her realise that so many Kenyan children are yet to receive quality education, and that the journey to 100 per cent literacy levels is still a long one in Kenya.
“Hey guys it’s Selena, I just got back from an incredible trip to Kenya where I had the opportunity to meet with remarkable young people and teachers, who are fighting for the right to a free, quality and inclusive education. However, countless students in Kenya are not receiving a quality education. Including the 59 percent of girls who are not even going to school,” Selena said via Instagram.
“As a result, young people across the country and particularly the poorest and most-marginalised are missing out on critical opportunities. In response to your calls last year, at the Global Citizen Festival in South Africa, Kenyan President Kenyatta committed to increase spending on education. From 17 percent to an impressive 30 percent of the national budget. But we haven’t seen progress or received an update on this commitment yet. So, we need to make sure its front of mind for the president and minister of education [Prof. George Magoha] and it’s delivered upon,” added the 27-year-old.
Selena Gomez is one of the most-popular American singers both offline and online. On Instagram, she is followed by 170 million people. On Twitter, 60 million users follow her, on Facebook 64 million people follow her and on YouTube, 25 million users have subscribed to her channel, bringing her total social media following to an impressive 319 million.
On Instagram, she is the 4th-most-followed celebrity in the world. Only football star Cristiano Ronaldo (206.5 million), American singer Ariana Grande (176.9 million) and American and Canadian actor Dwayne Johnson ‘The Rock’ (174 million) have more followers than Selena.
On YouTube, she also enjoys massive success with at least three of her songs having 500 million views and above.
One of her songs The Heart, has been viewed 666 million times on the video-sharing platform for the 5 years it has been on the platform.
Another song Come and Get It has been watched 656 million times in 6 years. Love You Like A Song is the other music video surpassing the 500 million views mark with 553 million views in 8 years.