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Will you deliver a better Kenya? Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Nyambega Gisesa, Kenya Jul 6, 2007
Human Rights , Peace & Conflict , Globalization   Opinions
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The empowerment campaigns are all over and every body wants a piece of the youth vote. Our country is at a stage of empowering the youth in political, social and economic aspects Dig dipper and you had discover that what they are doing is just a game of “tell them to quench their thirst”.
It’s an incontestable fact that those to be empowered are miles behind in developmental issues and all they can support is the fact that “we are aged between 18-35 years” and this is our tomorrow. And already the campaign to be an impetuous crash of events, policies and riding on implausible movements and ideals. During a recently held youth function at UN Headquarters I was profoundly astonished by a youth leader who called it “the youth revolution and takeover.”
Political takeover comes at a price, which is fully paid often by the electorate. And leadership itself comes with the price of responsibility and the weight of expectation. On top of that the electoral process is a process of selection and elimination where numerous resources, connections, deceit and tricks carry the day. Now just imagine a group of 18’s-35’s who want to inherit this system just because “its age and time.”
Political change comes from having a cause and a genuine desire to defend that cause. This desire is supported by impassioned sacrifice, suffering, and tireless exertions by activists. When this fails then the desire for change surpasses the need for dialogue hence calling for mass demonstrations and even violent takeovers.
Scratch the surface and there is genuine concern about this political emancipation. Every day a youth group, youth movement or youth party crops up. Interestingly more than 60 per cent of these grouping die manually three months down the line. Viewed from a fundamental point, you discover that their visions and support comes from “youth supporting politicians” an incontrovertible fact owing to the upcoming elections.
Even the government’s support to such initiatives is quite questionable. Even its greatest offer to the youth, The Youth Enterprise Development Fund” is slowly turning into a cash cow. In fact, the youth are sharing the bitterness of being unappreciated in key government projects and job allocations hence the government at some point has to “rig” some balance.
I am afraid that these campaigns are poisoning the mind of youth to take over power without having considered the kinds of change. In fact Kenya doesn’t need mere young minds but young minds who can craft unquestionable, unsullied and unsurpassed visions of growth that can transform the fish vendor in Kisumu to the crocodile farmer in Garsen.
Unfortunately this same young people are still engaging in derisory, pitiable and vexatious village politics. They are dancing to the tune of parochial politics in subscribing to the notation that Kenya is poor because aged leaders have ruled it and social-economic prosperity is the reward a nation gets for being ruled by “Young Turks.”
For reasons of social-economic cartography, they should interlace the mushrooming youth movements and parties to form a formidable organ that can champion their cause. Let them borrow a leaf from the women empowerment campaigns whose star seems to rise everyday. Dare raise a finger against Maendeleo Ya Wanawake or even The League of Women of Kenya and see what happens.
Such a formidable youth organ will push for the implementation of The National youth Council, challenge the government to tailor change some sections in the youth Fund to accommodate establishment rather than expansion of youth owned businesses and lobby for government projects and job allocations.
More importantly, equipping of youth with leadership skills should be the front line in the empowerment campaign. The Lumumba Institute created firebrand politicians in the 60’s who managed to moderate the excesses of capitalism in Kenya. Currently The Political Leadership Development Program and Uongozi Institute Program should be supported in their initiative to empower young leaders
On the contrary, without proper training and empowerment then we will give rise to non-revolutionary and senseless youth icons like the Umkonto We Sizwe in South Africa and Ghana’s Veranda Boys who ushered Ghana into independence only to assist in plummeting the country’s fortunes.
Italian Political Theorist Nicollo Machavielli asserts the fact that when a group of people is marginalized and disillusioned by forces of economic power then they can easily seize and sustain power through debauchery, deceit or even threat. Mungiki typifies such a youth organization ready to survive through any means.
Youths may have made leaps in this campaign but the net should be cast wider to capture the imaginations and aspirations of every Kenyan. The glitz and glamour of twig and banner carrying youth wont change the fact that they are offering nothing other than their ages for election.

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