Looking at the just concluded snap elections, it is still difficult to figure out the terrain in which UK will be riding along. PM Theresa May in her wisdom felt that she needed a stronger mandate to negotiate a hard BREXIT (leaving everything behind including single market and customs). While Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, believed in negotiating a soft BREXIT (maintaining some agreements like single market, custom union and border agreements). Among other issues such as austerity, immigration, welfare et cetera. Now that Theresa May, and the larger Conservative establishment, have been unable to attain the needed overall majority threshold in Parliament -even though still having simple majority- the UK Politics enters a very interesting stage for pundits.
That aside, 75% of young people between the ages of 18 and 25 did vote in the just concluded UK snap elections. A clear indication that globally, more and more young people have started to engage in Political discourses on a serious note. All for obvious reasons, the 21st Century challenges globally, are faced by the young people more than any other group.
Locally -here in Kenya- earlier in the week, two trends on Social media would catch attention. The first, #DearPolitician on twitter , where young Kenyans were reminding their Politicians on the need to factor in youth issues in their manifesto and keep their promises after being elected. While at the same time the hashtag sought to tell the politician that the citizenry is awake and well aware of what is happening. photo courtesy.
On a different platform I came across an interesting series – Perception vs Reality where graduates would share their experiences and challenges faced in employment, search for employment and some, accepting unemployment as a reality in Kenya.
This coupled with other realities of, rising poverty levels (both urban and rural with almost half of Kenya living in Poverty), Increasing foreign debt, Increased crime rates (Today, with cases of young teenagers, both male and female joining crime gangs especially within the urban informal settlements -who most of the times are used by politicians as their militias during elections), increasing levels of negative ethnicity that today is threatening to tear the social fabric of Kenya apart -among a myriad of other challenges. All these, unfortunately, if not checked, will see the youth of Kenya suffer during their adulthood and regret during their old age.
As much as the challenges facing the youth tend to be global, such as unemployment, others are local and have to be addressed -Fortunately, or unfortunately, by the youth themselves. Here is a little secret, Politicians will not provide the solution, actually, they are the problem. And the only way to bring sanity back, is for more and more sober youth, to pull together and themselves craft solutions. Yes, Politics will still be at the center stage, political players will still be present, but the game needs to change. The citizenry need to literary call the shots. But this can only happen when the Citizenry is moving in the same direction.
Several years back, in Canada, a group of young change makers, wishing to change the nature of their Politics and to get more youth engaged, started a movement, Apathy is boring to sensitize young people on how to bring change in the Governance and Political arena. You will agree with me that Canada has one of the most admirable leadership in the globe today. Also, with a much likeable leader, Justin Trudeu.
Many a times pundits have opined that Kenyan Politics is not issue based. Listen, a Politician is never interested in issues, the only interest is their election and re-election, period! And if a divided Nation will guarantee that, so be it! So it is not wise to wait for a Politician to bring issues to you. But this is what can happen, the citizens can actually take issues to them. Be it on Poverty levels, youth unemployment, urban redevelopment among others.
And just like it happened in Canada and other advanced democracies, it can happen in Kenya. When we finally decide not to be hypocritical and face each other as Citizens and decide which path to follow.
So, Dear Fellow Citizen, are we in agreement?
It is 59 days to the elections folks.