In her article at The Huffington Post titled “Who to vote for” (26/11/2012), Sharon Salzberg wrote, “Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country and this world.” As we enter the final stretch of the August 2022 elections campaign season, these are words that every Kenyan should take heed of, especially as we are about to make a critical decision on the people who will take leadership positions in Kenya for the next five years. Once again, we shall have an option to confirm our devotion to this country or betray its future.
It is prudent to start thinking about 2022 in terms of what we want for Kenya. We need to take stock of our voting history and introspect. What are our interests and aspirations? This can only be done if we resolve to come out and vote. Most Kenyans, especially the youth have detached themselves from politics because they feel let down countless times by the country’s leadership. While valid, inaction is not a better option as we leave it up to a select few to determine the country’s leadership and governance.
Our voting history, however, isn’t one to write home about. We cast a ballot today and shortly after, months into a new government, start questioning the quality of leaders in office. Perhaps we do not scrutinize them enough – their integrity, the track record and their commitment to servant leadership ahead of the vote. Those who have voted before have had instances where they got it wrong, but on August 9th 2022, we have an opportunity to choose better, right our past wrongs and forge forward with the conviction to better our country.
Similarly, in previous elections, Kenyans have been dangerously adventurous with retrogressive politics, failing to see beyond fissures such as ethnicity. Consequently, 50 years since independence, a country with vast wealth and resources cannot provide its citizens with basic needs. It is undignified for Kenyans to die of hunger in 2022. It is disgraceful for Kenyan girls to skip school due to lack of sanitary towels. It is even more scandalous for a Kenyan hospital to lack drugs. Is this the Kenya we want? It is common knowledge that Kenyan politicians have for a long time perfected the art of whipping emotions rather than mobilizing voters based on policy issues. As we warm up to election day, let’s prepare a red card for any politician who wants to play an ethnic, religious or even a clan card. The sad history should not repeat itself, let us vote differently.
In 2022, let us first resolve to vote. Promise ourselves to make the best decision. Most importantly, let us personalize the election, by first assessing what we want at an individual level, then look at our immediate local area and highlight what the people therein desire, and from there let us nationalize the poll by considering what is best for Kenya. Finally, we can globalize it, by fronting leaders who fit into the good governance global agenda. When we synchronize the findings from each level – personal, local, national and global, it is quite obvious that the characterization of the leader who will meet these needs will be transformative.
Behavioral political scientists tell us that voters are not rational, but for us, circumstances call for reason in the next poll. 2022 polls come at a time when the cost of living is at a record high, our economy is rickety, the state of unemployment is at its peak, schools lack facilities, and the problems are quickly snowballing.
A fundamental change may occur if this upcoming election will be about the future. The reality is that the politics of our country have a direct effect on our day to day lives. The youth, who make up 40% of the registered voters, have an opportune moment to cause a shift at both subnational and national levels. They have a chance to improve the state of education, employment sector, housing and form a responsive government that is focusing of improving the lives of every Kenyan.
To you the Kenyan youth, to skip the election is to hand the powers to decide to the next voter. So cast that ballot but strive to make it an informed one. Show up and show out. Let the power and voice of the youth be heard. G-Tokeze!
The #GTokeze campaign is funded by the European Union.
This blog is the sole responsibility of Mzalendo Trust and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
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