The Kenyan youth in politics

The Lazy Youth

There is a narrative prevalent in our culture that the youth are self-centred, impatient, lazy and have unrealistic goals. We forget that the youths are largely affected by the decisions made by those who govern them. This article is a voice that the young people are not here to seek unrealistic responsibilities, all they desire is to be part of the decision making processes. They want to dream and hope that it is possible to have democracy work better for them in the Republic of Kenya.

As this article begins, we need to agree that political actors who are in their 40s and 50s should be condemned for insisting and aligning themselves with the category of the youths. These are the type of people who indirectly cause political and social gaps between the young and the ‘old’. This is what actually ‘screws’ the younger generation.

Politics: activities associated with the governance of a country and produces ways of thinking the social world and the ways of acting in the world

Kenya has an overwhelming youthful population. This youthful population wants a platform that offers a stable decision-making model that encourages transparency, efficiency and a platform that is able to address long-term issues such as climate change. This is a generation that has more pressing concerns than who wants to be the president of Kenya in the year 2022, at least not now when we are thinking of how we can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and make Kenya’s Vision 2030 a reality.

The Right People for The Job

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See, the challenge we are likely to face as the youth is the lack of experience. While a lack of experience does not mean that the youth cannot make profound decisions and drive the country, the challenge lies in selecting the right people for the job. We have witnessed youthful political leaders demonstrate some disturbing commonalities. They tend to be rich, flamboyant, with sketchy backgrounds and many questions revolving around their wealth. This kind of leaders tends to be the most successful young leaders in the country. What measures can we put in place to ensure youthful leaders of integrity take up positions of influence?
It is difficult to envision such a situation happening without a paradigm shift in the political landscape in Kenya. We need more spaces for youth to show their capabilities. This allows us to remove the uncertainty around choosing the right young men and women to drive the agenda. Otherwise, the corrupt few successful young leaders give a convenient excuse to deny the youth opportunities for leadership.

Innovate New Ways For Political Engagement

Traditional methods of political discourse such as voting do not feel engaging to the youth anymore as this traditional methods are every day proving to be self-serving to a few individuals and are partisan. Young people have therefore shifted to new forms of political participation.
Don’t get the me wrong. Voting is vital. However, there are more specific and better forms of political participation. We are looking at an innovative generation full of ideas. The youths would rather participate in political demonstrations, volunteering in political functions and using social media to give voice to their political aspirations.
The youths have already shown that they are already actively interested in wanting to be engaged. Now what they want is to be involved in all the decision-making processes and they should be offered opportunities to do so, preferably within the existing political structures.

We have some youths offering practical and innovative opportunities for other young people to engage in formalized political structures. The youths are already promoting positive dialogue about new ways of participation and engagement. However, we, the youth do not feel fully involved by the state but we know by having such conversations we are making the right steps.

Get Involved in Trying to Make a Difference

I am going to spend this few minutes having this article up. I hope this are going to be the last time I spend talking about the problems caused by this big elephant in the room.  I would rather we spend more time talking about solutions. I have always felt that awareness on environmental questions has been overdone yet we always have appearance of new environmental problems and environmental degradation.

Recently I saw something on social media about Muranga the peeping desert. I hear rumors that the residents are trekking kilometers in search of water and how the residents are starving. The same Muranga Raila talked about. But I thought Raila was fighting for the Northern Water Collector Tunnel in Muranga? How about the Mt. Kenya illegal logging of trees or the charcoal burning saga in Kitui which has already become a political issue? How about the many other rivers including River Nyando drying up? How about the elephants been moved to Tsavo? The truth is, even the world’s major rivers are drying up and who is blame for this? Aren’t we, the most selfish God’s creation to blame for it?

It doesn’t matter who warned who? Or who listened because the fact is that we all in this problem together and we must come up with solutions as soon as possible on how to survive with this monster, Climate Change. We must be ready, now more than ever to work with nature and not against it.

Also I have another issue with us Kenyans being asked us to direct our energy to development projects and not politics? To start with, most of us think that environmental crisis is the consequence to our very existing problems from food insecurity, to water scarcity and poverty. But this is a very big mistake to think of it that way. Our economic and especially the social crisis are the problem. When we valued the economic progress at the expense of safeguarding the environment that is where the crisis began. Secondly, I believe that in a democratic country we can enable high levels of innovation and respond quickly to challenges. However, this can only be achieved if there is justice, legitimacy and transparency achieved by democratic contests. If we are capable of safeguarding our constitution we can also make the achievement of sustainable development fairer, more widely justified, and accepted.

We will be having more conversations on the solutions in the next articles and I would also love to learn a thing or two from you as well….