Opinion: Why The Youth Couldn’t Care Less About Voting

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Kenyan youth. Image from http://www.technoserve.org/blog/a-stryde-forward-for-youth-creating-opportunities-in-rural-east-africa

Apathy or what I call the “Why the hell should I be bothered” syndrome is how we react to most things that we feel powerless to change as Kenyans, or we feel that the end result will screw us over anyway. In the upcoming elections, for example, you get the feeling that a lot of the youth who have some form of tertiary education or other will not be bothered to wake up early, wait in the queues, which are from experience long, to go vote, and this is why:

 

Kenyan youth. Image from http://www.technoserve.org/blog/a-stryde-forward-for-youth-creating-opportunities-in-rural-east-africa

Disillusionment

The current government’s campaign platform had a very colourful manifesto that promised to turn Kenya into the envy of the developing world, by pushing us over that barrier that has periodically held us back from the greatness that we all know we can achieve. Some of the people that voted for them were hoping that even if they would not follow through on that particular manifesto, they would at least actualize some of it and it would be a good period of growth for the youth, with promises of a job creation, sports, agriculture among others. Others voted along ethnic lines.

This government, however, has disappointed across the board and proved to those that had a lot of hope in things getting better that all that glitters is not gold. Doctors have been on strike going on 70 days now, famine and disease are rife among the people, corruption is at an all-time high, unemployment among the youth higher than ever and the government’s flagship project has proved to be a sham. It is like the four horsemen if the apocalypse is out there just touching things and making them go rotten.

The same goes for the various other positions, especially for the position of Governor, where most of the current office holders have proved to either be inept, or corrupt, or plainly greedy and in some cases a dastardly combination of all three. The prospect of waking up early and queuing for long periods of time just to put the same type of people in the positions of power does not feel some of us with inspiration to go vote.

Lack of options

For those who are willing to go through with voting, the choices are not very inspiring either. The incumbent, in the presidency and in most of the other positions to be honest, have proved to be lacking in leadership and vision. The alternatives on the table do not inspire confidence that there will be the change that people need either. In the Nairobi gubernatorial race for example, the incumbent is to the city what 3-day old spinach is to your house; the source of a stench that sticks on to everything and burns your nose.  If you look at the alternatives, however, there is no one that fills you with the confidence that they will bring in the type of change that the city needs in terms of improved transportation, trash collection services that actually work, better security and response times by emergency services to name but a few.

This is the same across the country, the options feel limited and there is the feeling that they will not be an upgrade. We are damned if we do, damned if we don’t; and for most people, they would just rather not. They cannot be bothered anymore.

“There is no sense in waking up early to go torture yourself just so another a*****e can get in a position to pee all over my taxes, steal and help me die faster?  I would rather just stay home, sleep and watch everything from the TV. That is going to be another off day for me to laze around and drink.”

This is something I heard someone say at my local and quite a number of people on that table seemed to agree with him. Let us just say that unless things change, young people this time will just not be bothered to vote and to be honest, I totally understand.

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