The young people’s poor show in the Kiambaa, Muguga by-elections a cause for worry
It was refreshing to see the elderly brazing the cold rainy weather to cast their vote in the recently concluded by elections in Kiambaa and Muguga ward in Kiambu county. the hotly contested by election which was won by UDA’s candidate John Njuguna in the Kiambaa MP post following demise of the then area MP Paul Koinange, and Joseph Githinji the Jubilee’s candidate in the Muguga ward seat, rekindled the general elections fever where people from all ages not leaving the sick troop to polling stations to cast their vote.
I saw one Veronica Wambui a 90 year old woman from Kiambaa slowly walking to the polling station determined to make her choice count.
She revealed she participated in the first ever Kiambaa election that elected Mbiu Koinange as area MP.
“Nilianza kupiga kura miaka mingi iliyopita, hata ile ya kwanza ya kuchagua mbunge ya kwanza hapa kiambaa, nilichagua” I embraced voting many years ago, in fact I was among the many who voted for Mbiu Koinange as the first MP in this area, she said.
A spot check by Ghetto Radio 89.5 across the various polling stations revealed that majority of the young voters had shunned the voting exercise, with mostly elderly people streaming in.
“Actually many elderly people than the young have turned up to vote at Gacii primary school polling station “ Ghetto Radios News editor Claret Adhiambo was quoted.
So why are more young people shunning to participate in elections? Do they feel let down by the political class?
“Most youths don’t have the Patience to queue in a line in order to vote. The reason being they are guns for hire, they prefer to be given handouts by politicians than to actually vote.” reveals Happy Alphonce a youth leader from Mathare.
“wazee hupiga kura wakiangalia maisha ya mbeleni, jinsi wanataka kuboresha maisha yao lakini wengi wa mavijana huvote tu wakihongwa” The elderly vote for the future, most of the young people only vote when they have an agenda or when bribed” he added.
Regardless of this, young people need to know that voting gives you, a young person a voice. It definitely gives you the power and strength to decide how the country is run.
Such involvement of youth in the political process helped make a change in Sudan and even Zimbabwe through street protests that rocked those countries hence leading to the overthrow of Sudan’s leader Omar al Bashir and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
“You see what happened in countries like Egypt,Sudan or even Zimbabwe was because its people the youth being among them were tired of being used by the regime. Can you imagine small issues like the increase of Price of bread contributed to the overthrow of Sudans President?” Alphonce adds.
“So if mavijanaa mean it, they can literally change the world including Kenya. See, Bei ya Gas imepanda lakini watu hawajakasirika enough kudemonstarate, fear is what is ailing Kenya.” If the youth mean it, they can literally change the world including Kenya .gas Prices has doubled but no street protests yet, fear is what is ailing Kenya” he says.
The latest data from the census 2019 by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics reveals that 35 million Kenyans are under the age of 35.
And according to the data from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission IEBC the youth, who are between the ages of 18 and 35 years, do make up 78 percent of the country’s population and yet they do vote at lower proportions.
The country’s political class has not been left behind in trying to win the minds and souls of the youth, a critical group in the country’s campaigns.
In February this year 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta met a delegation of the youth mostly from the MT Kenya region at the Sagana state lodge where he made a strong pitch for the Building Bridges Initiative BBI which he together with Orange Democratic Movement’s Party leader Raila Odinga are championing for.
This same strategy has also been embraced by opposition’s leader Raila Odinga together with Deputy President William Ruto among others. Ruto has since coined a hustler narrative targeting the youth.
“It is not what you think, it is a complex programme. Those opposed to this hustler narrative have colonial minds that make them believe that it is only a few people that should be empowered” Ruto said this in February 2021 while on a three day tour of the Kenyan coast.
“In fact the story of the wheelbarrow is a complex economic programme which has rattled the rich people.” he added
On the other hand ODM party leader Raila Odinga has also promised to focus on the youth as he continues to lay out his strategy for the 2022 general elections. On Sunday July 18 2021 through his social media account, he promised to take youths to Shanghai, China in order to compete in the World skills Competitions.
“We need to start sending our youth to the world skills competition. The 46th edition will be held in Shanghai, China in October next year. Kenya’s youth need to be there” Odinga stated.
“Identifying skilled youth needs to be done the same way we select athletes and footballers and other international competitions” read part of his statement on twitter.
BY WEMA TOYWA #WEMA’STAKE