BY MACHEL WAIKENDA
Youth should never again be duped and dumped by selfish politicians whose children never participate in politics and uprisings. This is the greatest lesson every youth in the 21st century must internalize as part of the capacity building in readiness to take the leadership mantle at whatever level. Any misstep might be dire. The guides must lead and breed the new crop of leadership with honesty hands informed by the need to empower the young generation.
The missing link of the youths in governance today is that our political leaders have been using the youthful generation and whenever they are done with the youths, they dump them. As much as youth participation in politics and governance is not an option, their quest should be guided genuinely to empower them and not to their detriment. It is our unwavering clamor that the youth are also in power to have their proper place in the political affairs of the country.
This will anchor them on a firm foundation even as they assume leadership positions and run the affairs of government. It is about time that the true gospel was preached across the country to enlighten the youths against being misguided by politicians or so-called leaders.
They should stand firm to protect their rights and push their quest to participate in nation building as an agenda of empowerment as opposed to working for their downfall. The ongoing debacle of the Makueni senatorial by-election is a clear pointer of how messy politics can be to promising youths with budding careers and whose professions are ruined by political mischief.
Even as the country eagerly awaits the High Court ruling and determination of a suit filed challenging the decision by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) dispute resolution tribunal to nullify the nomination of Ms Diana Kethi Kilonzo, more answers than questions have been raised.
Though not holding any brief to them, the woes facing Kethi, Coalition for Reforms and Democracy have themselves to blame. There is need to appreciate that IEBC is an independent institution with or without having questions on whether Kethi is registered or not. Such constitutional mandated offices must be allowed to execute their duties.
The autonomy of such offices cannot be evaluated on the basis of need by either party but rather on its ability to deliver its mandated duties impartially. It is rather unfortunate that we have been having the same old-breed of leaders in power over the years without commensurate balance in youth representation.
Secondly, even when we have opportunity to have youths in governance the same old-breed of leaders deceive them. So the missing link is the absence of youth involvement in governance; we need to bridge that gap by involving youths as genuinely empowered leaders so that they can adequately cater for the interest of the youths.
In the past, this country has witnessed worrisome trend of youths being engaged by politicians to perpetrate acts of political violence across the country.
The devastating 2008 post-election violence sparked off by disputed presidential polls must serve as a case study of how damaging disgruntled youths fed with hatred can turn out to be.
What the Kenyan youths who comprise the majority population want is employment opportunities to earn their livelihoods. Apparently, not a revolution. This will deny any politician from misusing the youths by giving them money to cause chaos. It is about time that we forge for long terms solutions rather than putting forth cosmetic agendas.
Sentiments to stage an uprising in the guise to push for change and indisputably with youths as the major agents of demonstration is tantamount to dim their hope for a better future and curse the young population who have been languishing in poverty to prolonged status quo.
Any genuine agenda beneficial to the youth and to the country at large ought to be pushed with the same zeal and vigor.
(The writer is the TNA Director of Communications and a Board member of the World Youth Parliament. Twitter @MachelWaikenda)