“Election Safari is a program that documents the everyday occurrences pre and post the Kenyan 2017 election. It aims to capture the changing dynamics in the lives of everyday young people from various counties in the country”

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The State of the Youth Nation

There comes a time in history where brave youth choose to defy norms and lead, this forces the old to follow in shame. Such a time is at the pinnacle of occurrence in our country. It is a known fact that the population is currently at 41 million inhabitants. And we produce about 1 million Kenyans a year, leaving the population at 78% below the age of 35 years.

With any population bulge it will pop if not dealt with accordingly. That is exactly why the youth must unite and formulate a manifesto. Aside from the raving high statistics of young people, we are in a time where we have blatantly observed a distressed mass of citizens be battered and abused by national trials.

We have witnessed a doctors strike that lasted over three months, a teachers strike, a lecturers strike, a drought in North Eastern, countless number of scandals and all the while our politicians gallivanted through the country in search of votes, flaunting their newly acquired machines of steel. Politicians have managed to increase their salary, redecorate State House and make expenditures that have been questionable to the public.

This has left the youth completely powerless, apathetic and disengaged. Voter registration is an all time low and people have lost sense in dignity, ownership and action. The NYS scandal that was billions of shillings to give employment to thousands of youth was stolen and until today not a single person has been charged. During the President’s speech in his State of the Nation address, he said, “despite having teething problems, the National Youth Service Programme, through the recruitment of cohorts in Kibera has changed lives.” CDF and Uwezo funds in the county are filled with traces of corruption.

The disastrous amounts of stealing is now compared and watered down to a teething problem. To a majority of young people, they are not that optimistic about the future of our country. To quote a student who recently asked me, “Why should I vote? I don’t see the difference between the choices I have. I am yet to understand the point of it”. However, it has not always been so; in 2002 -2007 we had optimism and growth.

People were verbal and vibrant about being part of a national change. During that time we had had enough, we decided that it was time for change and during that period development projects were highly prioritized. Until today because of decisions made then, we have seen improvements in infrastructure and transportation. So, there is absolutely no doubt that with good governance, fundamental policies and political good will – growth is likely.

In 2010 we promulgated a constitution that was by the people and for the people. It is this very document that was to instill, encourage and support positive national development. For youth, we shall take a look at two articles 55 and 43 which covers their most basic needs. Article 55 is the youth section of our constitution, speaking on access to relevant education and training, be represented and participate in political, social, economic spheres, access to employment and protection.

Article 43 the social rights; are the right to health care, housing, free from hunger, and clean water. The very things that are rights to youth have been deprived of them. In the same breath our President speaks about his proudest achievement in the administration in delivering honest exams in 2016 when he spoke about education. Then President Uhuru mentions that “There is no corruption worse than that directed at the youth.”

So he is well aware that rampant corruption is robbing youth of their future. For the law to come into fruition, it must be followed. We are calling all youth. It is time that they arose from their induced slumber. These well-articulated sentences must be implemented for them to become a reality for the youth. And it is with this in mind youth have come together to formulate a manifesto to be presented to political parties.

This manifesto is for the youth of Kenya. We recognize that for our interests and the future of this country, such measures must be made, followed through and accounted. Although there has been an increase of young people in parliament due to affirmative action, it leaves them in junior positions and with very little influence. However, with a manifesto parties will have common goals that youth are seeking in national government, which will be essential for them to effectively lead the majority population. The divide between the rich and poor continues to widen and soon it will become more and more difficult to retain peace without justice.

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