Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Kenyan Youth Must Register and Vote

Kenyans under 35 years of age accounts for 78.34% of the total population.-Kenya Youth Fact Book

The population of 20-34 year-olds is a staggering 9.5 million
Iebc intends to register 18 million voters

The bio-metric voter registration exercise has begun in earnest and the Kenyan youth have no option but to register and vote in the next general election.

According to the Kenya Youth Fact Book the Kenyans under 35 years of age accounts for 78.34% of the total population.

The population of 20-34 year olds is a staggering 9.5million. The Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (iebc) intends to register 18million voters and this means that over half of this bloc is youthful.

The Education for All Global Monitoring Report launched recently in Nairobi paints a not so rosy picture for the youth.  It states that six out of ten Africans are 25. Of these, one of eight is unemployed and one in four young people work in a job paying less than $1.25 per day.

While many youth have in the past resorted to whining and peripheral involvement in maters politics, the time has come for closer involvement in the politics. The current constitutional framework provides for the position of youth representatives in parliament and in the county assemblies.

However, these posts are not to be given on a silver platter because candidates must be nominated by parties and must meet the requirements of the Political Parties Act. The act requires the nominated members to have been active party members for some time. This could mean active party participation by the youth. 

About 75% of the Kenyan population is aged between 15-29 according to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs website. This could provide a bigger swing voting block for who becomes the next president.

And since the youth feel the ravages of unemployment, corruption, inequitable distribution of resources among other ills more than their older counterparts, they have the only chance in the vote to make a decision.

Youths have made an impact elsewhere, notably in the Arab Revolution and even in the just concluded American presidential polls.

The Kenyan youth must take this chance and make their voices be heard.

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