Youths and politics
It is a fact that youths in most elections play a vital role as duty bearers, volunteers and mobilizers in every campaign management. The youths make decisions and hold positions that help various candidates gain traction. In major political campaigns, young people are truly the reason for many aspirants’ success.
 
A simple but difficult question then follows; why should youths participate in politics and what are the benefits of their involvement?
 
From political to civic engagement
“The involvement of youths in politics leads to civic engagement which is broader than political engagement because it can include service to the community through involvement in health matters, education, charity work etc,” says John Kiok, a youth leader from Ololulunga ward in Narok County.
 
Better Citizens
Young people who participate politically in their community are more likely to become engaged citizens and voters. Therefore, in order to have a better and a greater nation, involvement of youths in good politics is one of the best tools.
 
Break the status quo
The younger generations’ fresh ideas can help to overcome authoritarian practices. Protests led by learned youth team leaders can force autocratic leaders to step down from power, allowing these youths to become part of formal decision-making processes.
 
Youth for Youth
The youths face many issues in the world, but these issues go unheard. Since the youth would better understand other young people, the best way to improve this newer generation would be through politics, which is a tool used to take action for development. More so, young men and women in our nation, through the devolved units, are our agents of change that we all want.
 
Youth should remain vigilant and differentiate between genuine and fake political promises
A lot has been said for the Kenyan youths in terms of economic empowerment. To its credit, the government introduced the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), which provides cheap loans for enterprising youths to start income-generating projects and we have the ‘Kazi kwa Vijana’ (‘Work for the Youth’) initiative, a project that provides temporary menial jobs for thousands of youths. As good as these new projects are, without the youth being involved in formulating, planning and running them; our youth cannot go far in terms of development.
It is therefore a high time the positive impact of these initiatives be felt across the nation after the next general elections.
 
To quote the former president of Kenya Daniel Arap Moi, “Siasa mbaya maisha mbaya”, (‘bad politics will always lead to suffering no matter how great the ideas could have been’).
 
As we all know that the political scenario in Kenya favors the wealthy, well-connected, sycophantic, immorally unprincipled, unethical and corrupt individuals and this is a fact.
 
What we need first as youths is a total overhaul of the status quo and the entrenchment of policies and guidelines that will guarantee youth participation in forming the agenda of our nation. Secondly, we need progressive leaders who will help the young people to progress tremendously. We also need religious leaders and civil society to actively engage the youths in education, mentorship and leadership forums. This will help in forming a new and positive culture among our youths towards leadership and community development.
 
The big question is, where is your space after you have campaigned and taken part in liberation as a youth?

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