Caption: Wilfred Nchoki, former secretary-general of the Kajiado County Youth Alliance. Photo | Courtesy
Many young people presented themselves as candidates in 2017 and scooped a good number of elective seats
By Wilfred Nchoki and Saitoti Matipei
Last year’s general election has seen more young people getting involved in active politics than ever before in the history of Kajiado County. Many young people defied all odds and broke the barriers put up by the infamous narrative that the youth are leaders of a tomorrow that never comes.
Previously, elective seats have largely been a preserve of the elderly. This is no longer the case following the August 8, 2017 polls. The youth made concerted efforts, mobilized and remained focused in asserting themselves in county politics.
This effort overcame cynics, some of whom argued that the youth needed “godfathers” before vying for any elective posts; others said a lot of money was needed to win any elective seat.
It is worth noting that the youth constitute about 65 per cent of the total voters in Kajiado County. This means that nearly 70 per cent of the population in Kajiado is aged 35 years and below.
This is a huge pool from which to scout for talent. The current Governor, Joseph ole Lenku, decided to do so by nominating Martin Moshisho as his running mate in the recent general election.
Many young people presented themselves as candidates in 2017. They scooped a good number of elective seats in Kajiado County.
At least 70 per cent of all Members of the County Assembly are young people. These include Moses Saoyo (Keekonyokie), Peter Tirishe (Mosiro), Joseph Masiaya (Deputy Speaker and MCA, Magadi), Jackson Mpaada (Loodikilani), Paul Matuya (Kitengela), Dickson Nkalayo (Matapato North), Julius Moipai (Imbirikani), Robert Sungura (Ngong), Samuel Teum (Ildamat), and Kitesho Meshuda (Kuku).
Those nominated to the County Assembly include Sandra Mario, Winnie Sein, and Yvonne Tonkei.
We believe that these people will be instrumental in pushing for the youth agenda, including socio-economic empowerment.
The electorate now believes that the youth, once elected to power, will bring new energy and creativity. They will make it possible to break from the past.
This increased visibility and involvement of the youth in governance processes is partly attributed to their improved participation in politics.
The youth have been instrumental in encouraging others to register and actively participate in political party activities, for example. The presence of Youth Leagues in political parties confirms that young people are reclaiming their space.
Until recently, the young people have been misused by the “old guard” for their own political gains. Older politicians are aware that once the youth unite, it could spell the end of their political careers. But the youth should never allow themselves to be misused and divided.
It is the time they moved towards constructive change, which will help them sustain the present and create a better future.
People have also argued that most young politicians first had an exposure in the world of politics as students at various institutions of higher learning.
This is true of politicians such as the current Kajiado Deputy Governor Martin Moshisho, who was the president of Mount Kenya University Students Association, and the MCA for Keekonyokie ward Moses Saoyo, who was also a student leader at University of Nairobi.
Students associations help nurture young leaders by giving them a sense of responsibility and teaching them important leadership skills, including personal management skills, problem-solving skills, teamwork, and interpersonal effectiveness.
This active participation of young people can also be attributed to the fact that the youth started by establishing youth alliances. Most notable is the Kajiado County Youth Alliance, whose objective is to advocate and promote youth empowerment, education, good governance, and leadership.
It also seeks to fight against retrogressive cultural practices, including FGM and early marriages, in Kajiado County.
To conclude, the youth must come together and collectively think as progressive-minded individuals. We encourage many young people to engage in active politics and take over positions of leadership in the next general election in 2022.
We are confident that we have a huge repository of knowledge and ideas that can assist us in identifying the necessary building blocks to help Kajiado County move forward.
Wilfred Nchoki and Saitoti Matipei are Vice Chair and Secretary General, respectively, of the Kajiado County Youth Alliance