I’ve made a very interesting observation about the Kenyan youth, especially those fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to study out of the country. Many young people under age 24 seem to have absolutely no interest in what’s going on in Kenya. Many don’t bother to read the papers online. Yesterday, due to lack of time to read the entire online editions, I printed out sections of the Standard and the Nation, in particular articles about the Armenians saga to read over lunch. I ran into some fellow Kenyan students who were absolutely clueless that such events had occurred and they were so surprised to see the printouts! Mention the raid on the media earlier this year, the launch of Narc-Kenya, Kibaki and his family domez, and all I got was blank stares as if I was speaking in somali or something.
This indifference also extends to politics. Severally I’ve tried making conversation with guys about the political situation back home and who they’re likely to vote for come next year’s general elections. No one seemed to be least bit bothered! Guys would much rather gossip, discuss soccer and entertainment, get boozed and get laid. Is that all we live for? Many young Kenyans don’t bother to register as voters and even if they do, getting their lazy asses down to the polling stations is another thing altogether!
Obviously I blame the clowns who are currently in power for the lack of interest in politics among the youth coz with all that nonsense they spew out their mouths on a daily basis. Maybe we feel totally helpless or we might think that Kenya is beyond help so we’d much rather not think about it. Or maybe we feel that it’s not our place to speak out against these seasoned politicians.
An idea struck me although I don’t know how feasible it would be or if it’s even possible. I’m not a political genius so work with me here. It’s mostly based on assumption.
The youth make up about 60% of registered voters, right? That makes us the outright majority of voters, but I highly doubt that there is any political party in Kenya that actually reaches out to the youth. I’m talking about having the youth’s interests at heart. Kenyan politics is all about name calling and mud slinging, and in the process no one bothers to address issues (or at least make empty promises in their manifestos) to address issues faced by the youth.
We face various issues that include HIV/AIDS, sexual (as well as other forms of) abuse, inadequate educational facilities, lack of employment opportunities for university graduates, lack of adequate opportunities to develop individual talents among others.
Anyway, the idea is, would it be possible/feasible to start a political party that solely caters for the interests of the youth? I’m not necessarily talking about going for the top seats, but let’s assume that the party could reach out to the youth in all corners of the country and educate them about their rights and the importance of having a party that’s formed for the youth and by the youth, encourage them to register as voters and to actually go to the polling stations on election day and vote. Throw in a few inspirational young leaders and through aggressive campaigning somehow manage to get something like 40% of the youth registered to vote, to become party members.
Such a move will make the more established political parties wake up and realize that the youth are a very important portion of the electorate that has long been ignored and that we’re tired of being taken for granted. They will definitely start taking the youth more seriously, and they’ll come up with agendas, platforms, policies or whatever fancy names they give to their plans of action. This youth party would then form an alliance to swing the youth vote in favour of whichever party that has the most solid plan to address issues faced by the youth. Future support for the party will be based on how well they tackled these issues.
Moi used to tell the youth “you are the leaders of tomorrow…” that was years ago but what we see today is a bunch of senile septuagenarians in power and driving Kenya to the ground. This “tomorrow” will not just pop out of a hole and announce “I’m here!!” Tomorrow will become today only when the youth decide to get more involved in politics and in matters that affect their own lives, when young Kenyan graduates out there decide to come back home and share their wealth of knowledge and help in building the country instead of throwing stones from afar.
So what do you think?