21st Century Voter
By David Okoth
| November 19th 2016
“Vote for me and I will give you money.” This is a common phrase in most parts of the world including Kenya. Election is viewed as important like another phase in life of a country but politicians take advantage of the youth.
“I don’t think voting in Kenya is free and fair.” Dinah Charles a Daystar student tells me as she types her assignment. I continue by asking her whether she has a voter’s card and I am not surprised when she tells me that she doesn’t have.
Most youth have this kind of view on election that they will not be exercising their rights as required because of the claims that votes are stolen.
In addition the most people also affected after the votes are the youth, a good example is the United States of America after the world was shocked with Trumps Triumph in the election. Looks of dismay were displayed all over the news, they decided to take action and carry banners that read ‘Not my President’ ad others vulgar words that only the Lord is able to forgive, during the anti-Trump demonstrations.
In Britain, during their vote to leave the European Union the most people who voted to Brexit were mostly the elder people as reported by news stations not seeing the effect it will have on the young people of Britain and the effect it will have on their future.
I meet with Alice Mwende a 22 year old with a bubbly personality and ask her who she thought was enticing the youth to start fighting and her answer is hilarious she says, “Is that a question or an answer?” That question thrown at me made me burst out laughing. Jeniffer, together with many other Kenyans believe that the politicians cause violence among the youth by telling them to kill fellow Kenyans in cold blood while they (politicians) sit in their mansions and watch the country burn into flames.
“The youth who mainly get fooled by these pot-bellied men and women are from the rural areas, and made to see that election is about tribe and not about who the right leader should be.” Rehema Atieno, 25-years old tells me and adds by saying, “This seed of tribalism has been passed on to small children by their elder siblings and parents the only thing we can ask God is to have mercy on us.” I couldn’t agree more with Rehema’s statement.
The young energetic people have also played a major role in campaigning for political leaders. Why the youth?
“It’s because they see this as a way of making quick money and the politicians know that they will be able to lure other young people to join and support the politician and his or her party.” John Kamau a 24 year old self-employed businessman tells me. He adds by saying that most of his friend who are unemployed would look for the slightest opportunity to campaign for a politician.
In a lighter note, Bahati did a performance that went viral when he sang for the President of Kenya and pulled him out of his seat during the reveal of Jubilee Alliance Party, this is a strategy also famously used by politicians because of the large fan base Bahati has it is also similar to the U.S (United States) when Hillary Clinton was supported by celebrities like Beyoncé, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga in order to increase the number of supporters to vote for her.
The young people in the country have also been involved in elections in that some of them have ran for electoral positions and others also have tried running for presidential positions but to no avail. They do not realize how expensive it is to run for a presidential seat in one’s own party. However, it is good to see that they are willing to lead this country.
It is very exciting seeing the youth participate in good politics since it shows how ready they are to transform the country and also explains how they have hope for a better Kenya, Yes! A better Kenya, better Africa and a better world.
Organisations have been started by the young people for the young people to promote peace among the youth and they include Seeds of Peace Africa which according to its internet page aims in interacting the youth more in sports in order to unite them and kill tribalism. They target mostly youth in rural areas and in the slums and hold various sport events to keep them busy.
During the post-election violence the Kenyan government called out to various peace organisations to spread peace to the nation. These organisations called various famous artistes to reach out to the youth through their music since one of the well-known artistes is Esther Wahome who at that time was a young person who to reach out to the other young people than a fellow youth. It was a good choice. In elections I believe that the youth can also be involved in promoting peace before and after the elections before matters get out of hand. They should start from the grass root level since they are the most manipulated.
“I have never missed voting during a general election because I know that a single vote can make a whole difference.” Says Jennifer Mutenyo a resident of Kitengela who appears to be very soft spoken and is a lady of few words. Therefore, instead of the youth warming their seats at home during elections they should make an effort to partake in their civil rights
In conclusion, the young people should not allow to be swayed around like branches on a windy day by these unwise pigs by the name of politicians. They should stand for what is right and not the other way around. Rise up! Young people.
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