MWAMISI: Politics a game of ‘puppetry’ no youth should die in

Participation of the youth in Kenyan politics happens in rallies and demonstrations.

In Summary

• It is definitely not a crime to be wealthy and the youths should not have the wrong notion that the wealthy are their enemies

• After all everyone wants to be in a stable level financially to handle challenges

Youths protest along Ngong road on March 20, 2023.
Youths protest along Ngong road on March 20, 2023.

American author and writer George Carlin once said,“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in a large group”.

Looking at recent activities where youths have rampaged streets in nairobi and Kisumu cities, paralysing businesses and disenfranchising investors — some even invading the farm of former President Uhuru Kenyatta — this quote may not pass as comedy.  

The political attitude of young people contrasts with that of the mature. It is well-known that the most significant participation of the youth in Kenyan politics happens in rallies and demonstrations, but diminishes  when voting happens.

The most reckless and even deadly of political altercation is carried out by the youth owing to their energy, much time to spare and emotional instability that is convenient for politicians to overplay and misapply to their selfish expediency.

During elections, politicians approach voters by segmenting them into voting groups based on various demographics. They will put greater emphasis especially on women, who are more loyal in voting, but manage the youth into using their energy more in the preliminary process.

They depend upon the youth to spread the word and often raise the commotion that leads to fashioning and sustaining of momentum towards the creating of political engagements and movement.

Being in a knowledge-based era, the youth are more tech-savvy and active on social media. They therefore became effectual weapons for setting agenda for politicians. You will encounter proud and arrogant people on WhatsApp groups, mostly youth, who are reckless enough to emotionally injure other people without any remorse.

On making a deliberate trigger statement, you will be met with a barrage of thoughts and emotional responses and even profiling. Nobody cares about principles or values; people defend what they believe in to the last word on the keyboard.

Some debaters on social media are even prominent people disguising themselves as ordinary people so as to be well poised to throw salvos at others, while preserving their reputation or evading legal challenges.

It is widely believed by scientists that the human brain fully develops at the age of 25. Up until this time, and even beyond, one is a thrill seeker, emotionally unstable, and in the search for identity.

It is easier to be drawn by distractions at this level, be a poor planner, make poor decisions, be impulsive and pursue things that generate immediate gratification without deeper discernment while lacking the active listening function required in the acquisition of knowledge or interpretation of social issues such as politics.

There has been excitement on social media platforms the last few days, particularly with the invasion of the Northlands estate owned by the Kenyatta family. Images of people ferrying stolen sheep from the grange has led to the creation of hilarious memes. It is believed the Kenyattas own over 500,000 acres of land in Kenya, according to Forbes, acquired during the reign of Jomo Kenyatta. While we have many squatters in this country, maybe the lack of empathy is owed to this.

Kenya Kwanza and Azimio are involved in a push and pull, as the former seeks to retain power acquired on winning the last elections, while the loser tries to overplay the tough economic times to try and pull the former down.

There is lots of double speak, withholding of information, name-calling, finger-pointing and propaganda meant to incite Kenyan youths, and only active listening and thinking can help one to understand. It is easy to hate particular politicians at a given time, but we all know they always pull together when their interests align.

While it is true there are people in this country who used power to amass wealth, only shallow thinkers will consider that the massive Kenyatta estate is only sustained by looting and tax evasion.

It obviously takes hard work and good brains to run big companies and invest wisely. It will also be silly to assume that Uhuru and Ruto are sworn enemies yet they worked together from 2002 to 2022. Maybe Uhuru should have groomed a political successor from within the Kenyatta family, or maybe there will be some political regeneration from it.

There is an ominous gap because being wealthy and considering the history they have, they will need a political defense line. It will be remembered that in 2017, Ruto, then Deputy President, took Uhuru’s youngest son-  Muhoho Kenyatta - on the campaign trail in Nandi.

Nevertheless, the Bible avers that, “The rich and poor meet together, the lord is the maker of them all”.

It is definitely not a crime to be wealthy and the youths should not have the wrong notion that the wealthy are their enemies. After all, everyone wants to be in a stable level financially to handle challenges. It is not wrong to desire that those who have looted be punished, but the approach has to be legitimate so that nobody will feel disenfranchised for their social status, having or not having.

As the youthman hurtles helter-skelter along and across the streets destroying property and hurting people, perhaps it is useful to stop and think.

A striking video surfaced online showing a street in Nairobi’s Donholm estate where one needed to wield a rock as their pass. The exercising of such power gives the youth instant gratification, and being in a crowd where such ideas are mooted and executed can be exhilarating. However, drawing temporary joy from someone else’s hurt is not perfectly human, the youth must be told.

Away from youth dynamics, it’s a no-brainer that Kenya Kwanza was not going to win the battle against Azimio’s political blackmail without playing politics.

Kikiyu MP and National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah and others have immersed themselves in the dark corners of rough politics yet again, but are cautious to avoid any baggage that may lead to legal or other challenges.

Recently, President Ruto was on the political prowl in Kisii where he reminded Raila that he defeated him in 2022, would defeat him again and even asked him to return the favour of supporting him in 2007. He was cognizant that Raila had been scoring freely as he has monopolized the streets in the demos. It is a clever move by Kenya Kwanza although Raila says the demos will continue.

The Matiang’i matter was laid to rest, apparently. Kenyans will never know the real story behind the said raids, for one, and those will remain mysteries subject to varied speculation. It is important to note, that on taking power last year, Ruto announced on September 22 that he had reached out to Raila ‘because we both enjoy equal support’.

Nevertheless, we can project that it would be detrimental to Ruto towards 2027, if he makes any public political deal with Raila because it would cause jitters amongst the Mt Kenya communities.

The safest bet for Kenya Kwanza would be an intervention, local or international, which keeps Raila on his lane as opposition leader allowing government to work, but checking its excesses.

A legal intervention may also come, because Azimio is causing havoc in the country having not planned to take power and now purporting to be fighting for Mwananchi. It can be determined whether it is lawful to demonstrate from a perspective of a rigged election to which the Supreme Court already pronounced itself to, some have observed.

The demonstrators may also run out of steam considering that all can see it is a political game that lacks genuine momentum, one where youths must not lose their precious lives.

Meanwhile, youths must question issues powerfully and commit towards making decisions that work for them and others considering the social responsibility we all have.

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