The youth shouldn’t let themselves be used as political capital by ambitious leaders


Now that Obama has gone and Obama fever is over Kenya is back to normal, whatever normal is. Earlier in July Babu Owino drafted a letter to the office of the US Embassy in Kenya asking the institution to ensure President Obama visits the University of Nairobi and talks to the 80,000+ students.  Citizen News website shares how Babu Owino caused a stir on the Monday after he wrote the letter. He stated that at least 18 students have threatened to commit suicide if Obama does not visit the university. The letter further stated that, should Obama snub the invitation, at least 31 female students will urinate on a tree which he planted when he visited the university in 2006 during his tenure as Illinois Senator.

baba owino letter

I will be short and to the point with this one. In my opinion, President Kenyatta could not have stated it better himself when he termed the letter nonsensical saying should President Obama want to visit a University in Kenya, he should go to any university and not necessarily the University of Nairobi.

Surprisingly many students agreed with Babu Owino, and if you read this article you will realize how the hashtag #Babuisright spread around like wildfire. On the other hand, many more students strongly disagreed with his opinion, as one such student put it so eloquently, “Dear President Obama, Be informed that Babu’s primitivism does not represent the intelligence of the UoN students. Yours, SONU member.”

I personally believe as a student, it was not right, and will never be right for students to be used as political capital. It is like playing mind games or puppet show, where those with power are the puppeteers and the students are nothing but mindless puppets doing and saying whatever they are being told.

If this takes place in Kenya right now without a word from anyone then there is a problem rooted deeper than we all think. Hitler was quoted saying,

“He alone who owns the youth gains the future.”

That statement is becoming more of a realization to political leaders in the present age who end up trying to use it their advantage, for their own personal gain. The truth is it should be less about trying to pull the student generation into what you want and more about helping them figure out what they want to better for the future of our nation.

This requires,
1. Listening to the ideas and opinion of the students and young people of this generation.
2. Major investment in education for this generation.
3. Making possible their dreams into reality, do not discriminate the youth for being young
4. Encouraging the youth to invest in their home country instead of going abroad (They will only stay if step one has been followed. If they feel like they are being heard.)
5. Agree to disagree. On more than a few issues there may be disagreements between the older generation and the younger but that is fine. That is democracy, not everyone can be happy all the time.
6. Lastly share your ideas for their benefit. When it comes to the older generation, or political parties don’t hold back on sharing your opinions or ideas but not for personal gain, only for the sole purpose of the betterment of our nation and empowerment of the future generation.

I will end by sharing from Obama’s 20 top quotes while he was in Kenya those that a relevant to this topic of discussion.

• It is the young people who must take the lead.
• We are connecting young people full of ideas that are not weighed down by ideas from the past.
• You don’t need to look overseas to realize your dreams
• I like the phrase “Yes Youth Can”.

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