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Youth And Politics
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Youth And Politics
Kenya’s general elections are less than five months away, and preparations are in full swing. However, the young Kenyans have their say about politics, corruption, and their sense of belonging.

The youth are the majority, yet most don’t have voters’ cards. Ironically, they fill political rallies but cannot exercise their democratic right to vote.

It’s in the public domain that the IEBC has been trying to get young adults who have become eligible to vote since the last polls in 2017 to register.

And it’s no secret it flopped miserably.

In October 2021, IEBC set an ambitious target of adding 6 million new registered voters within a month but registered only a quarter. 

 Then tried again in January and failed after succeeding to register only 12 percent of the remaining 4.5 million potential voters it was targeting.

According to Masha Sudi, the senior election officer in charge of the Malindi constituency, the IEBC missed the margin by far because it only looked at the number of new identity cards released between 2017 and the time they were conducting the registration exercise when deciding on its target.

Sudi claims that during the exercise, they discovered many youths were not in the location where they had taken their id cards, because they were working in different towns and that some youth-only had their waiting cards, implying that they had not yet received the released id that the IEBC had assumed they already had.

He said that most of the youths with I’d card were hesitant to register for many reasons, including inadequate leadership from current and prior leaders, as well as a desire to be awarded a token for participating in the registration.

Although voting is a democratic right, a group of young people questioned for this article stated that politicians misuse this right and that they see no reason to vote because they say that voting or not voting makes no difference.

According to them, although their future is in their hands, their voices are not being heard. a sentiment dismissed by Masha Sudi who says that these people had never voted before and urges them to continue flocking to the nearest IEBC offices for the ongoing registration exercise.

The IEBC official, however, welcomes those who want to transfer from their registered voting stations due to work or any other reason to do so before the time limit runs out and before the IEBC ends the exercise and goes on to other activities.

Masha believes it is past time for the IEBC to stop using old and outdated methods to reach out to the youth and instead start using social media sites such as TikTok, Facebook, Whatsapp, YouTube, Telegram, and any other site that youths are drawn to reach as many youths as possible.

On his part, Abdulrazak Mohammed, the executive director of the Center for Civic Education, who has also worked with Muhuri for over ten years, believes the only way to reverse the trend is for the youth to be in the election process and in the ballot box.

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