Youth should run for office to become dynasties

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020 00:01 |

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Wilkister Aduma

Our political space is marred by conversations of dynasties and Wanjiku.

Whether the fight is on who commands what should really not be of concern to young leaders looking to change the narrative in political leadership.

The atmosphere is ripe for leaders that inspire hope and reform for common good. 

However, the problem is young people run for office to make an attempt at making a name and not necessarily to win and lead! While this is not entirely debauched, we really are selling ourselves short.

Why? The entire electoral process, hinges heavily on young blood. Think about it.

Campaign strategy, slogans, the ground work and even the unfortunate lot that are contracted to ‘swallow’ teargas and throw stones when election results are unpalatable.

The success of the 2017 election campaigns for most individuals and political parties depended on messaging that targeted particularly the youth demographic.

We are heading to the polls in 2022 with a projection that the median age of the Kenyan voter will be 26 years.

Research and data by organisations working to enhance democracy indicate that the most disengaged group politically are young people aged 18-25.

What will that look like for the young people expected to participate in the elections as candidates, voters, observers among other roles? Will they register as voters let alone the voting itself? 

This is why it is important for political actors to engage young people constructively, so that they participate in democratic processes.

World over, young people have little confidence in their governments and thus the laxity in their participation as voters. Their participation needs to be secured as early as now.

The youth also have to realise they have the right to represent and be represented, and effectively at that.

Exercising their fundamental rights especially during the electoral period is important to ensure that young people field their candidature for ward, county and national elections. 

Traditionally, there have been arbitrary barriers for young people to run for office, including but not limited to lack of financial muscle, lack of political experience and poor information in candidates running for office.

The sad reality is we are so engrossed in wallowing in despair on our false hate for dynasties that the youth angling for 2022 elective seats are not working to bring down these barriers.

Moreover, young people urgently need to understand the first step towards beating dynasties is to become one yourself.

This will not happen overnight, especially not when young people are not in positions of political authority.

Perhaps the youth will become the new political organising in Kenya and the rest of Africa because of the rapid growth of this demographic.  

They need not get caught up in the tribal political organising the old guards having been using since post-colonial days.

Perhaps hope of this nation lies entirely on the youth becoming the third tribe in Kenya after the Haves and the Have Nots, and rid us of negative ethnicity brought about by politics.

When all is said and done, change is not the result of a single action, it is based on collective and deliberate effort from the society that so yearns for it.

It may take young people of integrity running for elective positions, winning and leading or the reverse which will herald adverse effects. 

Young people have an opportunity in the 2022 elections to become the change they want to see, redeem Kenya from the thralls of its leadership crisis with the understanding that politics is not a career, leadership is. — The writer is the organiser Run for Office — [email protected]

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