The Kenyan 2017 general election is going to be a reflection of our youth. The ‘YtoZ generation’ will be the scorecard of the level of political maturity our country has achieved in more than 50 years. Will this generation break us from the chains of tribal thinking and deliver as to the land of issue based politics? Will the new, energetic, young, elected leaders work for the citizens, by the citizens and think beyond political divide? Most importantly will the youth be on the forefront to advocate for peace or will they be used as instruments of violence?
With the rising temperatures, as each day draws us nearer to the election I pray that as youth we don’t get carried away in the euphoria and forget that this day is about making the wisest choices for our nation regardless of the level of leadership. We need to hold the already elected leaders into account and we can only do so when we have the votes. The large population of the youth is enough to transform this country, if and only if we vote based on merit and character, from the lowest seat to the highest representation. However, there are some challenges towards achieving this goal we ought to deal with.
Voter apathy does not better anything for anyone, except the bad leaders who are voted in by good people who fail to vote in good leaders. Most of us youths feel that the current crop of politicians are not really capable of addressing the challenges faced by the youths but I need to remind the ‘quick fix’ generation that our liberation just like that of the founding fathers and mothers will not come overnight but overtime, and it will need our patience and wisdom in handling matters. We can start from the most basic point of influence such as the MCA and MPs before getting to the top. This is because this two offices are the most influential to the citizens as they are the ones that deliberate on policies to govern counties and the nation respectively. Thus if we ensure that majority of the newly elected MCAs and MPs are youths who understand our plight we can start tuning the system to better each and every youth’s life in any part of this republic. However, this young capable leaders can only be voted in by the youths and if we lack votes then our voice will not be heard in the ballot and consequently in the governing authorities but shall only be heard on the streets in vain.
Another important fact we ought to realize is that leaders rise to the occasion and if good leaders do not rise to lead in the right direction be sure negativity will be on the rise. There is a leader within each and every individual and rather than complain about bad leadership, election after election let’s rise up, fill the gap and lead in the right direction. All I’m saying is that the suitable crop of leaders to solve our challenges will only come from amongst us. The issues affecting the young population can only be solved by young leaders who have encountered similar challenges and understand the ways around them. Be it unemployment, be it insecurity and be it lack of capital or school fees do not expect an old recycled leadership to come to our aid whilst in fact our challenges are gains to them. If the youths remain ignorant and desperate, this politicians who are not at any point leaders use the youth in demonstrations and violent deeds only to pay them peanuts in the hope of keeping them captive to such a kind of life. Meanwhile the hired goons at some point end up injured, arrested or dead but the politicians kids are abroad or some safe haven continuing with their successful life.
If we want change for the better it must start with us. Our generation is often after change but not many are willing to change. We dream of big cars, houses, that amazing body, that unimaginable vacation but we do the same things that do not lead us to our dreams. We are after greatness but we don’t want to rise above mediocrity. If we want to bring tribalism, corruption, mismanagement of public resources and all types of vices that we condemn on social media and in public let’s be the first to denounce and hate this vices. Denouncing and hating these vices from within us by self-scrutinizing and self-prosecution, before we shout and condemn other people’s deeds, we should ask ourselves if we are of a clear conscience or we are justifying our weaknesses with other people’s failures. If each and every citizen adapts such a mindset it will be easy to eliminate these vices. A good example is how everyone criticizes the National Police Service for being highly corrupt, but the truth of the matter is that the police are bribed by the very same citizens, politicians, corporations and business people who are the loudest in condemning them.
If as the youth we devote to being honest and upright individuals then we will have attained the purpose because the reality is that the elected leaders are a reflection of the citizens. I call out to every citizen to rise up and be the change and more so let’s translate the change in the ballot.