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Kuria Youths Demand voice in local politics

Youths from Kuria region in Migori County now want local elders to factor their interest in all future political decisions of the community.

They criticized their senior citizens for insisting on imposing political leaders on the community without the consent of other stakeholders in the society who may hold a divergent opinion.

While addressing the press in Kehancha town, a section of the youth led by their leader Mr. Edwin Ochenge claimed that they were the majority of voters but their opinions were never considered before a political pronouncement was made.

They protested against a recent move by the local council of elders that endorsed a local politician without their input and distanced themselves from the exercise insisting that it was not consultative to warrant the community’s backing.

“Any endorsements made in favour of certain politicians within and outside their community in regard to 2022 general elections cannot stand unless all stakeholders especially the youth who make the majority voting bloc are involved,” Ochenge said.

Their protest was prompted by a recent move by a clique of elders to endorse Senator Ochilo Ayacko for Migori’s gubernatorial race ahead of the 2022 general polls.

Kuria youths in a meeting of the hotels in Kehancha town

They were also angered by series of political declarations made in favour of various leaders from within the Kuria community as concerns next year’s polls.

“As the youth from this community, we are strongly against this blatant act of some few elders holding discrete night meetings to impose politicians of their likings on us. Since we are the majority, we demand for our rights to also have opinion on all those politicians intending to vie on various positions,” said Ochenge.

The youths unanimously agreed that they will elect leaders only based on their good track records on development. “This time we are going to have one on one sittings with these aspirants and the one with better ideologies for the young people will receive our full support,’ he said.

The Kuria youths claimed that their elders are only interested in receiving hefty tokens and political favours from politicians who lacked the vision and developmental agenda for the community.

And as the 2022 general elections draw closer, most youths are now jostling for political space and realignments as campaign fever takes shape barely a year to the polls.

The youths underscored the need for them to fully participate in political decision making for it is the only way to address challenges facing them especially the high unemployment rates experienced in the country.

They insisted that they are motivated to engage in such political decision because it is their right and duty to choose leaders who will serve their interest.

For them to improve their living standards, they pointed out, it was important that they support and elect good leaders with sound development policies.

The youth downplayed the narrative that they wanted to be included in political processes with the aim of having opportunities to be bribed with little goodies by politicians during the campaign period. Instead, they said their interests were in gaining experience in all aspects of political processes, including in the act of voting.

They lamented that their main impediment to making a positive stride in politics has been exclusion from political activities by elders on the basis of being novices on political issues.

They are also affected by cultural barriers where youths are perceived as lacking the ability to make meaningful contributions, considered inferior, or not allowed to speak in front of elders among others.

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