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MICHAEL OCHULA: Elect youthful leaders in August polls

Most of our current leaders were youthful when they were elected into political offices.

In Summary

•The youth must look at the character of the said leader(s) and their moral values and not the money, free goodies and empty promises given by those seeking leadership positions.

•Our political history has shown that we have men and women who are perpetually youth. 

It is conventionally agreed in many countries that the limit to voting rights is pegged at age 18.

This means that all who are 18 and above have that inalienable right to vote in office people of their choice. This means that all young persons have been given all the rights that they have been yearning for.

What else do the young people need apart from voting into office people of their choices?

Once you vote for people of your choice, you have the kind of fair representation you have been yearning for.

By taking up the voters card, the youth have a role to play by starting to interrogate the ethical values of all those whom we elect into positions of leadership, people who can move our beloved country to catch up with the world in terms of development and good governance.

The 2022 elections provide an opportunity for the youth of this country not to vote in the same and tired leadership that we have been saddled with all across the two levels of government and not to vote for known thieves who have plundered and brought our great institutions down to their knees, not to vote for merchants of impunity and peddlers of corruption, not to vote for those who can never express themselves in public forums and whose academic qualifications are either unknown or questionable.

Given that close to 65 per cent of Kenya’s population is under the age of 35, their optimism and energy give youth enormous potential to change the course of leadership in this country.

With this power, the youth must troop to the polling centres across the country to cast their vote on Election Day and elect leaders of their choice.

The youth must look at the character of the said leader(s) and their moral values and not the money, free goodies and empty promises given by those seeking leadership positions.

Since adult leadership has led us close to nowhere for the past 50 years, the youth need to prove that they too can lead and lead better.

Our political history has shown that we have men and women who are perpetually youth. They have been youth leaders forever. They have been youth leaders for the last 30 or so years, and they still pretend to talk for the youth.

Our constitution gives us the opportunity every five years to put into political office men and women who can drive our national agenda but we fail miserably and we blame them.

We must stand up together with the benefit of access to information through technology and with the benefit of exposure, rally together to interrogate the quality of people we need to propel to national political leadership.

Most of our current leaders were youthful when they were elected into political offices.

They had the vision of ridding the country of illiteracy, hunger, disease and corruption but failed miserably beyond a reasonable doubt.

Nevertheless, they have been in leadership positions, some since the 80s.

And we are the ones who vote them back into political office every 5 years.

On the contrary, we moan lack of ethical leadership, yarn for leaders with integrity and those who promote good governance. But one thing we must remember, these leaders never force themselves on us. We vote them into office with intent.

It is of interest to note that our leaders who are supposed to have inspired and propelled us to greater heights in the early years of independence are the ones who keep asking us about what happened to Kenya.

They keep comparing us to Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, saying that at Independence we were at par economically and socially.

And yet, we keep recycling them back to the office for asking us what we should be asking them! It is time we ask them the hard questions; why did they squander the opportunity? Why did they deviate away from the development path? These are leaders that led Kenya to be the proverbial Nchi ya Kitu Kidogo!

We have the opportunity and the time is now for young leaders to start emerging.

Let us unite and put into office leaders who will promote good governance as captured in our Constitution and Kenya Vision 2030.

It is time we elected leaders of known moral values, people with integrity and not leaders who will keep whining about what happened.

Let us critically cross-examine those seeking leadership positions. We have the numbers and we must come out and vote.

Ochula is a communications and governance expert based in Nairobi- email:[email protected]

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