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.

Invest in our future by planting trees right now

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. (William Arthur Ward).

Just the other day, we all are not comfortable with the heat and lack of rain. Scientists say that trees help in the Water and Carbon cycle. See, the thing is trees use Carbon Dioxide to grow and release Oxygen. This helps in reducing Carbon Dioxide to the atmosphere and trees also add water to the atmosphere through transpiration and this forms rain clouds which then release water in form of rain. Also, too much heat can be as a result of increased Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. You all remember the Kidero Grass? How is the state of the grass? Beautiful I presume?

Kenya has such an amazing development plan and the country has very good laws and policies on forest conservation and the environment, the country continues to experience unsustainably high rates of forests loss. According to Kenya’s Development blueprint, The Vision 2030, the goal on the Social pillar on Environment was and still is to increase forest cover from less than 3% at present to 4% and to lessen half of the environmental problems. The flagship project on this subject included the water catchment initiative. There is still a call for the rehabilitation of our water towers; The Mau escarpment, Mt. Kenya, Aberdares Range, Cheregani Hills and Mt. Elgon.

There have been a lot of campaigns on tree planting but I am going to be a realist and say this, planting trees alone cannot help!  The campaigns on tree planting are good but trees can only be beneficial when they withstand early hazards, which make post-planting care and maintenance crucial.  For a strong tree planting campaign, I suggest that we not only focus as a country on planting trees alone but also ensure that the trees growing. What I mean is that a successful tree planting must begin with putting into consideration that; not all trees are healthy, Assessment of an area should be done before planting trees and there should be monitoring of the planted trees. This means that we should ensure that we are planting trees that are of good quality and that will grow strong, we should assess an area to understand what tree does well where and also we should have people observing the progress of the trees planted.  The idea here is to follow up that we do not only plant trees but we should ensure they grow.

We are part of the ambitious nations who are working towards halting deforestation by 2020, which is two years from now. By achieving this, it will not only be a victory for the environmentalist especially the environmental activists but also our future generations will get to enjoy this resource. A healthy environment will boost the social economic development of this country in very many ways. This could also help us get back on our feet in being very productive in the agriculture sector and addressing the issue on food security. However, this looks very good in writing and on papers but this requires hard working institutions that will spearhead this campaign of increasing our forest cover. The Government of Kenya should ensure that there is no loophole. Those in office should practice integrity in ensuring that our forest is protected and also stress on the issue of increasing forest cover!

We can and we will through collective action create a green land that we once had. It may not happen fully till after we are gone. But I know that the steps we will take by growing trees are the right steps