Kenyan Youth May Lament Forever, But They Remain Own Enemy

The victory of the USA elect president, Barrack Obama, an American with Kenyan roots, was celebrated across all continents of this world. And indeed it is assumed to have inspired the greatest hope of our time across the generational divide. Here in Kenya, the youth celebrated that victory with renewed energy and optimism. But as the dust settle, the Kenyan youth has to realize that right in the heart of this nation, there is an Obama who only need our united support; that right here in this country change is possible if only we would vote with our future in mind, that right here in this great nation, we can command the politics of the day, if only we would discover the power that lies within our numbers and strength.

The youth, both white and black in America and especially the first time voters created, supported and elected Barrack Obama. They departed from and defied the norms of race and prejudice to put in place a generational change they felt good for them. If this is not a lesson enough, in this country where everybody remembers, worships and memorizes the tribal belonging, and mistakes it to be a synonym to democracy, then change is far a way from sight.
The bulk of this country’s population is the youth accounting for about 68.7 percent; unfortunately this demographic strength is not reflected in the political leadership and representation. 

Look at the national top leadership of some key national and union like sectors like Central Organization of Trade Union (COTU), The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Kenya Football Federation (KFF), and Athletics Kenya (AK) among others; they are all headed by the old adults while the greatest stakeholders in these sectors are young people. This should be reason enough to make the youth change tact, prioritize the change agenda and draw a road map that will grant us a chance to lead this nation. Otherwise we will continue to be powerless, beggars and foreigners in our own land.

Thus it will be correct to allege and conclude that somehow there is something that is terribly wrong with our youth. In every election year; the Kenyan youth temporarily stop to think about their future and the kind of life they would want out of it. Most young people opt to support the older generation and spend the rest of their life after the election lamenting about the poor performance of the leadership in terms of governance and democracy.

The failure to deliberately plan, strategize and scheme, have cost the youth of this country a great deal. For instance, 2012 is not far from now and the youth have not even thought of coming together, identifying own candidate and starting an early campaign. This is the reason why the likes of Raila and Martha Karua will continue controlling the politics of this nation a little longer.

Initiatives like Jipange Generation is a very good idea towards the right direction by the young people, but we all remember what happened with Vijana Tugutuke, it woke up one day and became Vijana Tugutuke na Kibaki; a true paradox and satire to the aspiration of the young people. Jipange Generation itself became chaotic, violent and degenerated into a looting and mugging spree.

Although all is not lost; the youth has to literary work on their image in order to regain the public confidence. The current parliament has enough number of young people but their performance has been below the expected standards. We have heard little from them except when they speak on behalf and for the benefit of their political parties or party leaders. Some of these legislators were once vibrant and vocal voices in Civil Society movements but once elected, the voices fades off and they get sucked into the system. This impact negatively to the leadership struggles and pursuits of the young people in terms of preceding public image and trust, because we have no show case to present.

Being a youth is not a permanent status, neither is it a qualification to accord anyone a special consideration. The Kenyan youth should therefore stop lamenting and start taking charge of own destiny. No one will hawk power to the youth and those who are waiting to be given or for some miracle vacancy, will wake up to a rude shock when they cross the thresh hold of youth before creating any legacy worth mentioning in the light of the ages to come.

Our attitudes must change; change from the convectional thinking where success among the youth is measured on how best we kill competition, rise to celebrity status, behaving like our oppressors and abscond from our duty to offer quality leadership when it is required most by the citizens of this nation. The youth must read wide, learn the history of this nation, and undertake some project that will be geared to improve the economic, social and political status of this nation.

The youth must unite reform, repackage and re-launch itself, or forever lament as it drips into a web of confusion, mere statistics and weapon of self and generational destruction.

Author; OULU GPO
Born to serve humanity
Dated: 6th January 2009

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