MILLENNIALS AND POLITICS – By June.

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Politics, such a morbid topic, one that we love and hate both at the same time. Everything that happens in the world of politics affects every one of us whether we are active participants or not. A familiar phrase by the late President Daniel Moi was, ‘Siasa mbaya, maisha mbaya.’ We are witnessing this phrase come to play currently in this country.

Growing up in a Kenyan home meant that you knew what political party your family subscribes to and by default you subscribe to the same political party. For instance, A Luo family automatically subscribes to ODM and supports Raila, A Kalenjin automatically supports Jubilee and supports William Ruto. A Kikuyu subscribes to the Jubilee party and supports Uhuru Kenyatta. The list goes on and on. You can fill in the rest for yourself. As I’ve gotten older, I have realized all these prejudices do not serve to benefit anyone. To support a leader just because he comes from your tribe is doing an injustice to yourself because when we do, we end up with crappy leaders as we do now, we ALL suffer.

When prices of local items go up, there is no section for a Kikuyu or a Jaluo. We ALL suffer. I understand that these prejudices are difficult to get rid of, we have all played a part in propagating so many of these prejudices in one way or another, I know I have, but it is never too late to change our ways because things are not looking so good.

Every day when I watch and listen to headlines in this country, I can’t help but feel hopeless for myself and other people as well. You see it is somehow justifiable when our parents support people based on their tribe because, at the end of the day, they have their lives made already. But even with that being said, it is still very important to participate in politics, know who your MCA, MP, Governor, and Senator is. For things to change, the system must change. It is another thing though when the younger generation do it {you and Me – Millennials}. It saddens me when people my age do it. Because in all honesty, this government has not in any way shown that it cares for the young people of this country. We are going into 8 years of this administration without any bleak hope towards the youth of this country.

If you have job hunted in this country {I know I have}, you know how difficult, frustrating and depressing this process is. Before you give me that desperately tired logic of, ‘Start a business, build your own table.’ I want you to ask yourself where this is coming from and what it takes to start a business; financially, emotionally, and mentally. I also find it extremely corny and disturbing that this statement is normally uttered by grown old folks who have held government and public service jobs their entire lives. How ironic, don’t you think? Why then haven’t you started a business? Since it seems like such a great piece of advice. Normalize questioning some of this unsolicited advice. To make it worse, the pandemic has heightened everything so even that job hunting process is becoming impossible. If you have a job, as some people do, you are struggling to keep it by all means possible, with ridiculous curfew hours that do not in any way make sense to the typical Kenyan mwananchi who is out looking for his/her daily bread. Let’s not even talk about the hiked fuel prices. How much more could citizens take? Hell, even an internship is difficult to come by.

Then there is the gibberish (yes I said it) that is BBI, should I go on? There is a lot that has gone wrong already and it is up to us, the young to say that ENOUGH is ENOUGH. The revolution cannot happen while some people are comfortable with the status quo.

Recently, there has been the issue of curfew enforcement whose enforcement has gone wrong. Privileged people came out to say how Kenyans should know better. To the privileged, why would you speak from your gated suburbs, in the comfort of your own home berating Kenyans whose only crime is wanting to go home? The problem I have with politics and leadership in this country is everything is about punishment, be it not having a huduma number, etc. The supposed remedy for everything is punishment.

Everything we are currently facing in this country ranging from the health sector, corruption, and creative industry fail is due to bad and poor leadership. You cannot fix the public health crisis by treating citizens like criminals. The hubris is made even more glaring when we add in the fact that the leaders are criminals.  YOU are the criminals. Fix the problem, not the people.

For the average middle class who constantly display their ignorance by thinking these injustices will never befall you.  Let me submit to you today the middle-aged citizen is one health crisis away from abject poverty. Not to wish anyone any downfall but it takes that ONE admission to the Kenyatta Hospital to realize that you were not as financially great as you thought you were. As long as the middle-class citizens can fuel their cars, pay for their apartments and watch Premier League and Netflix a revolution cannot happen.

It has also become clear as day that we will never be able to ‘Harambee’ ourselves out of bad governance, we can’t entrepreneur our way out of incompetent regimes, and we can’t ‘PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY our way out of a bad system. This country is BROKEN and it hurts ALL OF US.

I hope there comes a time in this country when we realize that:

  • The government is supposed to work for us.
  • Harsher conditions aren’t an indicator of a working government: If anything indicates signs of a dictator government which is a dangerous path to tread in.
  • Foreigners don’t deserve better treatment; that there’s a difference between hospitality and discrimination.
  • But also that punishment is not a mode of communication especially from the government to its citizens.

Let’s be part of national conversations, social media is an amazing place to participate in national conversations. Let’s not wait for another 5-year mess to realize our mistakes as millennials, as a people, and as a country. So… Now is not the time to say, “I don’t like politics,” because politics definitely likes you and it certainly affects you

 

To be silent is to be complacent, I don’t care what your excuse is. TO BE SILENT IS TO BE COMPLACENT.

 

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Siasa Place is an NGO formed 2015 that aims to create an enabling environment for women and youth mainstreaming into our body politics.

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