By Paul Nyawanda
In the frenzy that is Kenya’s electoral process, we easily forget about certain individuals that get nominated to parliament to represent groups of special interest.
As a young person wanting to ensure my views are represented, here is a guide for the political parties nominating youth representatives to Parliament. Indeed this is the criteria I’ll use to assess youthful aspirants hunting for my vote come the 8th of August:
Young: The question as to whether we are our own best representatives continues to be asked. It often stems from the documented lacklustre performance of youth representatives nominated to the outgoing parliament. But there’s no ‘youth’ without the ‘you’. The ‘youth’ have to be represented by one of ‘you’. I appreciate the vast experience that the older generation might have in matters of representation. But only a personality of the ‘you’ bracket has the drive and physical energy that it takes to push the youth agenda.
Outspoken: A ‘blunt’ or ‘frank’ person. Has a valid opinion. Ready and willing to articulate this opinion. Prepared to defend its validity and to pursue its possible outcome(s) to a logical conclusion. Leadership becomes unresponsive when representatives would rather buy into the opinions of their peers rather than formulate their own, in response to your specific needs or demands. At this point, the oomph associated with youthful leadership becomes hogwash. You see, ‘spectator’ become irrelevant the moment you’re halfway out of the chemistry lab.
Unblemished: No one is perfect. Sure. Leaders must be held to a higher standard. Double sure. But what’s their history with public office? What history do first-time nominees have with their non-public engagements before they appeared on the nomination list? A scandalous history is a precursor to a scandalous future.
Trained: This does not necessarily equate to a degree from a recognized university. Some of the best tradespeople (mechanics, electricians, carpenters) owe their prowess to apprenticeship and not textbook learning. Training is evidence of one’s ability to learn and of the potential to make something meaningful out of that which is learnt. Only on the basis of training are we justified to expect professionalism from our leaders.
Humble: Humble politician. Could you put a face to this phrase? How about a name? Most of our leaders would rather embrace the so-called “big man syndrome”, which detaches them from those they represent before the actual oath of office. Humility will keep representatives away from the afflictions that plague the represented.
Young, Outspoken, Unblemished, Trained and Humble. Two possible scores: zero or five.
If this criteria is anything to go by, the performance of majority of the youth representatives in the 11th Parliament has been zero.
This article is courtesy of Project Mchujo, running with the hashtag #ChujaSiasa