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Why we will lose in the election, whatever side we are. Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Nyambega Gisesa, Kenya Jul 6, 2007
Human Rights , Peace & Conflict , Globalization   Opinions
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Are youths battling to lose?

With elections a few months away, the Kenyan youth remain at a gambling spot. Unlike in the past, there are echoes of a youth revolution in the political arena. What the Kenyan youth don’t seem to understand is the fact that great revolutions are based on unassailable, unbounded and unparalled great ideas. These ideas are perfectly timed to offer hope to citizens. This has been evidenced in countries like South Africa , Slovakia , Nicaragua and Chile .
Our politics has been dominated by an older generation who posses a shoddy and outdated comprehension of issues. This is despite favorable statistics that indicate 67 per cent of the populace and 58 percent of the electorate is aged below 35 years. Already in cohorts, the youths are transversing the country and forming groups aimed at wooing the electorate.
Although in large numbers, the aftermath of the elections may be yet another goof by our youth – loosing in seats yet again. At the current state, if they support the government, opposition or other youths they will still be vulnerable to an onslaught from either of the sides.
No one can deny the fact that Kibaki’s government deserves praise for dishing out The Youth Ministry and the Youth Enterprise Fund to youths. But giving credit to the Youth Ministry and the Youth Fund won’t erase the fact that the government has taken the youths for a marathon.
If the youths decide to support the government, they will have given another term to the same government that has only offered derisory gifts for the overwhelming support in 2002. This support was largely and mainly given on the promise of creation of 500,000 jobs each year.
Some 64 per cent of the unemployed are youth and interestingly only 1.5 per cent of the unemployed youth have formal education beyond the secondary school level. Of the remaining, over 92 per cent have no vocational or professional training.
Accused of breaking pre-election promises, the government promised Kshs.2B for youths but only half of this was disbursed. Let’s do some mathematics on this fund. If you are in a group of 12 and given kshs.50, 000 each gets around kshs.4, 200. This capital is just enough for a hawker!
Up to the ninth hour, this fund was to be disbursed in small amounts through micro-finance institutions but it was channeled overnight to constituency level each getting 1M. Never mind that the deadline keeps on being pushed obviously towards the election period.
3-5 million youths are unregistered as voters largely because application period for identity cards keeps fluctuating. The politics is simple; the youths may not support the government and so let’s deny them voter’s cards through delaying IDs!
The government has promised at least 33 per cent of posts to women. Youths have been offered nothing and are unlikely to be offered in the next term. All key parastatals and government offices are headed by aged officials and directors. Youths have only managed to grab well hidden youth desks, a regular dumping site.
Despite the promise to deal with corruption, its tainted with an abysmal record. If you have no money to bribe your way, there is no service. Youths are poor people and corruption croppers their progress.

Age requirement and experience keeps on increasing in applications for government posts. Hawkers majority of youths are given free karate sideshows and youths are rarely involved in decision-making.
Even the darling of the youths, the opposition, this time has offered nothing. In 2002, the offer was the job creation and the youths voted for it ignoring the youthful Uhuru Na Kazi. Politics is a frail game of deceit. If they haven’t promised before the elections, what about after?
In its clamor for minimum reforms, ODM-K plainly states that youths should be registered. There is an undue urge in registering the youths hence “no registration of youths no elections” should have been one of the nonnegotiable items.
Kind of a culture, the opposition always relegates the youths to lobbying. They are pushed, to the periphery blocking their participation in decision-making process only to be given undue airtime in singing party slogans.
The big-time losers will be the youths in their campaigns. It seems that they don’t understand that waving placards and banners declaring their age will not give them power. In fact age has never won an election, not even in the craziest democracies.
Youthful revolutionaries like Lumumba, Fidel Castro, Nkrumah and Nujoma strut into the political arena with a rare political structuralism in a bid to overthrow oppressive systems of rule. The youth alone never revolutionize but they are the main fuel for a struggle.
Instead of inanely campaigning, they should think about increasing their vote count. They should pressure the government to accept essential reforms in issuing temporary voters cards to those with waiting cards. They should push against the legal discrimination that bars them from being a councilor, M.P. or President at 18 years.

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