Youth should prove their mettle
12 months ago, 31 Dec 23:58
It has, generally, been a good year for Kenyan youth. Winning at least one county governorship position, a couple of Senate seats and a good number of MPs and dozens of MCAs, 2017 was one of the most rewarding years for this category of Kenyans in the leadership sector. This year’s General Election was one of the most competitive in recent times and for youths to be picked out from among more senior and experienced politicians, it shows that a good number of voters believe in giving them an opportunity to lead. The Under-35s — as identified by the laws of the land — are normally associated with vigour, creativity and progression. That’s why an increased number of them was entrusted with important leadership positions nationally and regionally in the elections. Nandi Governor Stephen Sang, 32, was trailing in the race for the top county seat just months to the August 8 poll. Facing seasoned, more established politicians, he gained an unbeatable momentum in the later stages of the campaign to clinch the seat by a desirable margin. YOUNGEST SPEAKER He thus became the youngest governor ever elected in Kenya. Governor Sang picked youths to occupy almost half of the County Executive Committee and Chief Officer positions. Nandi also has the youngest Speaker in the region, Joshua Kiptoo, 28, and the youngest senator, Samson Cherargei, 29. And the county was not the only one that gave youths influential seats as others also entrusted this age group with various leadership posts. Governors seem to appreciate the youth by giving them senior county posts, an indication that they are keen to involve them in decision-making on matters affecting them. However, some counties seem not to have seen the need to have youths in the top echelons, leaving them, once more, at the periphery of leadership. It is not particularly impressive to see some governors pick people as old as 50 and above for dockets directly in charge of the youth. NO YOUNG CS With a country teeming with millions of youths, President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has often associated himself with them, would do the group a big favour if he filled at least a quarter of his Cabinet with youths. The constitution of the last Cabinet was a huge disappointment to the youth — who form a large bloc of the population — as the President failed to appoint a single young person as a Cabinet Secretary while only one was, unsatisfactory, named a Principal Secretary. For youths in leadership positions, the celebrations ought to be over. It is time they showed what makes them different from their older colleagues and did some work. It hurts to see that some youth, especially those in Parliament, are already struggling to settle yet they promised dozens of things to the voters during campaigns. It might be too early for them to give a true picture of their capabilities. However, somebody who is yet to outline their development agenda four months into a five-year term ...
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