When I attended the 100questions hosted by BBC in 2017, one question kept emerging from the audience which mostly comprised of youths (under 35), when would the two sides, NASA and Jubilee actually seat down and give the country a way forward. What emerged from the interactions is that until the citizens demanded the same from their leaders, it was a zero-sum game. Forty million Kenyans are represented by 400 elected leaders nationally (Senators, Members of Parliament and Women Representatives). If the voter demands a better leader, aspirants would rise up to the occasion because they are the ones who want the job. To add salt to the injury, our leaders are a direct interpretation of who we are.
What is the role of youth in all these? Are we simply recipients of information, who do not bother to sieve what comes our way? Where does the average youth fit in the whole democratic process especially now after the elections

Stephen Machua says that it is a wakeup call for young people who form 51% of the registered voters, which means they have the demographics to influence the next course of leadership, he calls it, “Youths Rising”. We need more meaningful engagements. He urges youths to see Kenya in five to ten years. Would you be proud of your country? Take care of the present, be responsible for the future. Step into the position of leadership. It can be at the community level, political level or the economic aspects of the country. Think about the country you want to lead, the people you want to lead and the person you want to be led by. Stephen also champions for SDG goal 4.7 concentrating on peace initiatives at the grassroots and national levels with various youth organizations.
Tribeless Youth is a platform which provides a common ground for youths to air their opinion regardless of tribe. Shikoh Kihika started the platform in 2016 tired of hate speech online. She recently chaired a session at Egerton University that set the Youth Agenda focusing on governance, leadership and accountability. She argues the negative online energy can lead to mental instability. Kenya is at a stalemate because of political issues brought about by tribalism and historical injustices. She rallies youths in Nakuru which is fairly cosmopolitan on being tribeless by echoing the national anthem themes of peace, love and unity.
Nerima champions for civic education and public participation through her platform Siasa place and Visionaries Aloud. She believes that good politics makes public policy more efficient, effective and makes bureaucracies more responsive and accountable for meaningful socio-economic development. Young people should be involved in politics, whether active or passive. They should make their opinions heard.
Shikoh Kihika, Stephen Machua and Nerima Wako are championing for peace, inclusivity and sustainability in their own ways. What are you doing?

The writer is the former Youth Senator-Tharaka Nithi County,  Ms Anita Nkirote.

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