Kenyan politics is messed up! It is confused, lost and less promising. They say democracy is a government of the people by the people and for the people. But who are the so called “people”.

Democracy demands that whole populations of voting age take part in making decisions in as far as governance is concerned . That might sound attractive but it comes with inherent risks.

I want to posit that steps can be taken to protect democracies from dangers that threaten the entire lot. Dangers that weaken nations. Dangers which expose countries to collapse!

Currently, dictatorships are weathering rebellions from tired citizens with chants of democracy renting the air. Arab populations are standing up and embracing the western culture of democracy. But is democracy compatible with all cultures?

We really have to ask ourselves the question of who gets to vote! The wielder of the voters card has a power that is often times underappreciated. He has the power to make or break not only his life, but millions of other lives sharing the same polity with him.

I want to focus on two groups of voters and the manner in which they can upset prevailing power arrangements. I want to look at immigrant populations and the Youth. This will perhaps simply my argument against the youths, the import of this article.

Immigrants normally upset the status quo and in some countries, stringent measures are always put in place to ensure their voices remain silent. They are always reminded that they’re visitors and threats of expulsion are always thrown at them. It doesn’t help matters to have them breeding at a faster rate than the host communities.

They have to remember to lie low like the famed envelop. They say it is cheeky of them to even filed candidates in very local elections.

The border issue Donald Trump is trumpeting about is basically about the voice immigrants have on the national politics . The Latino block is huge enough to upset the national tally, ergo, “build the wall!”

By voting, they take part in national decision making! And this should not be the case. They barely have perspective and their votes will always be for short term interests.

The same goes for the Youth. Africa’s youth is bulging at the seams and this bulge always comes with immediate challenges. This is not to belittle the advantages they bring to the table.

Youthfulness is such an interesting stage in life! It is a stage between childhood and adulthood. The boundaries are hazy and different countries have specific definitions for who a youth is. Kenya stretches it to upto 35 years! Interesting! And sentimental!

Wikipedia’s definition of youthfulness as the appearance of freshness, vigour and spirit all point towards being young.

Being young comes with a lack of experience! A lack of perspective! A lack of foresight. It comes with raging hormones and most young people are easily impressionable. All these characteristics are bad for decision making, especially on matters which concern nationhood.

I strongly don’t belive the youth have enough experience to participate in matters national decision making. Decision making comes with perspective. Where there is no perspective, there are poor decisions. That’s the reason you see their parents hovering around, guiding them.

Let us look at two countries, where there have been youth led unrests before zeroing in on Kenya.

Egypt had Hosni Mubarak from as early as 1981. The Arab spring began in neighbouring Tunisia, sparked by an unemployed graduate and it quickly found traction in Egypt.

Millions thronged public squares and it was thrilling to see the strongman finally fall. Elections were quickly organized and Morsi found himself in office, propelled by a youth vote.

In less than two months, the young guys had grown restless and went back to the streets, seeking to overthrow Morsi. Two months is such a short term to grow restless. But they are the youth, of course.

This all points to poor decision making processes. The youth did not have time to digest that voting Morsi was going to have an impact on their lives. They voted him because it was fashionable. And they changed their minds as fast because it was equally fashionable.

But army generals had no time for these jokes. Egypt occupies an important position in the middle East and college students with western ideals were not going to be allowed to run roughshod over serious Egyptians.

The story of Egypt is a sad one today with thousands either in jails or disappeared. The army seized their discontent and overthrew Morsi, reinstalling even a more hardline government than Mubarak. Egyptians are now fleeing into exile. Al Sisi is a no nonsense dictator, always willing to use brute force. Meanwhile, Morsi is now rotting in jail!

Madagascar is another case in point. There was Rojoelina! Then there was Ratsiraka who had been President from as early as 1975. Rojoelina was a young DJ and when the vote was called, The youth went for the DJ caring less about important state issues. The story is still developing!

Like many countries in the developing world, Kenya is grappling with the phenomena of youth bulge. A whooping 75% of Kenyan population is 30 years and below.

It is worth mentioning that voting age is pegged at 18! This therefore means that it is the youth who make the bulk of the decisions when it comes to chosing the nation’s leaders. And almost all the leaders are above 30 years of age. The youth chose for themselves, leaders outside their fold. And others!

The question we must ask remains: have these decisions been sound! Are their choices good! Have their votes been for national good! Your guess is as good as mine. Obviously!

Recent surveys have specifically signalled that access to gainful employment and income opportunities for young people in Kenya is hindered by corruption, the lack of capital, information, and relevant skills, among other factors.

If graft is endemic, then the voters are to blame, 70% of whom are the youth.

Further, when young people are employed, most tend to be engaged in the vulnerable and low-paying informal Jua Kali sector in urban areas, while those in the rural areas are often underemployed, particularly in the subsistence agricultural sector.

As a result, the working youth receive wages that are inadequate for their needs and most are not covered by any social protection programmes.

The study also points out that a significant number of Kenyan youth are neither in education, employment, nor in any sort of training. 

It can be concluded from the study that the leadership decisions these youths have been making are not sound. The leaders they have elected thus far have not improved their lot.

If corruption is a crisis, then the voting block is equally guilty. If there is unemployment, then the leaders they have chosen are incapable of creating an enabling environment for the same.

Tribalism is a major issue in Kenya today and it is a shame that the Kenyan youth is the force behind it. They spend inordinate amounts of time on social media insulting each other instead of engaging in gainful discussions.

The Kenyan youth is impressionable because he lacks the relevant experience. It all boils down to perspective! He is young, a big baby.

It is worth noting that the Kenyan youth of today know nothing of life under a dictator. It is fiction. They never saw the detentions and as such will never appreciate the freedoms they’re enjoying. Maybe we should call them the democracy generation.

Perspective shapes attitudes! Perspective help shape points of view. It widens knowledge and helps develop critical thought. Do they even know that Moi would detain people on whims? Do they know that the good Ruto of today was Mois home affairs minister?

Without perspective you make poor decisions. Without perspective, your view of the world is limited to your immediate environment.

Perhaps the youths should be confined to small world decisions when it comes to electing leaders. Their votes should be confined at the wards and not beyond the constituency.

They lack the relevant demeanour required to make solemn decisions. Their history is shallow. They live in the immediate world and it would be wise to confine them to this world until they are mature enough to make national decisions.

Without perspective you make poor decisions. Without perspective, your view of the world is limited to your immediate environment.

Kenya has made it as a rule that only 35 year olds and above, can run for the office of President. It would be exciting to have only voters in the same age bracket participating in that vote. This would be a time for the youth to sit back and watch. Watch to learn!

A 35 year old guy has suffered unemployment and will make smart decisions. He has gone to bed hungry and has seen opportunities go by because of tribalism.

He is old enough to know leaders presenting themselves for office and can trace their political history. His decisions will always be wise.

Raila Odinga, for example, ran for office of President in 1997 and many of the current voters, who are in their millions had not been born. They don’t know the struggle Kenyans went throw to open the democratic space and therefore cannot make decisions to protect the same.

They cannot appreciate that some politicians wowing them today with millions once stood in the way and made sure democracy activists were jailed.

A person born in tbe nineties is now allowed to vote! Children born in the kibaki era are just about to sit for their KCPE Exams. They do not know that the country almost went down the precipice. To them it is a distant story yet the perpetrators of the said evils are either in office or running for the same.

Perhaps the NYS program should be reinstated for all youths before they join any college. Before theyre allowed any form of gainful employment. This programme would even dissuade young women from the shameful phenomenon of slaying.

A program of mass education with relevant national philososopy should be reintroduced and only those who succesfuflly undergo this programme should be allowed to vote.

It is sad that Kenya nolonger has any defining philosophy. Maybe tribalism and corruption and insults are our new philosophies. We are doing well there. Ruto insults and the people cheer!

Nation building is a delicate process and no nation can be built on a strong foundation when young excitable children are charged with the duty of chosing a nation’s leadership.

They say an ornaizatiom is as strong as it’s weakest link . We can make Kenya stronger by removing the youth from making decisions in critical areas of our nation. They ‘re our children and must remain under the nation’s tutelage. Until they are ready.


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