Kenya: Fellow Young People, Voting Will Ensure That Our Voices Are Heard

17 September 2021

The 2022 General Election is approaching and politicians have been roaming every part of the country trying to convince citizens to vote for them.

Of special interest to the aspirants is the youth vote -- the 2019 census revealed that young people form more than 70 percent of the population.

In the 2017 General Election, more than 51 per cent of registered voters were aged 40 and below. Consequently, we have seen politicians trying to blend in with the youth, imitating their language, trends and even advocating for their rights. Promises have come in thick and fast.

The politicians' desire to win over the support of the youth, however, raises concerns of whether it is important for the young generation to have a say in politics and governance.

In my view, it is very critical for young people to participate in politics and elections, and several initiatives have been launched to help achieve this goal.

Youth outreach

During the 2017 General Elections, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) came up with an initiative named YVote, a youth outreach initiative. Its aim is to educate, motivate and engage young people to actively and peacefully participate in the elections.

This year, in preparation to the next year's general election, IEBC is seeking to register more than four million young voters.

As a youth, you have a constitutional right to vote and participate in politics in a meaningful way. Politics, defined by American political scientist Harold Dwight Lasswell as "who gets what when and how", dictates our lives, and we cannot afford to take a back seat as the nation chooses its leaders.

Starting to vote at a young age leads to continued voting through life and a better understanding of your rights.

Youthful politicians have proven track records and its only through registering as voters that we can elect more individuals to represent us in government.

Casting your vote matters more than you may realise.

Mercy studies communication and journalism at Moi University.

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