Dear Kenyans, when leaders light the fire, here’s how to put it out

Posted by on 7th October 2017

Categories:   Uncategorized

The youth in Kenya are a very curious demographic. They are the group that attend political rallies in their numbers; engage police in running battles during demonstrations and make time for hate on social media.

The oldest youth in Kenya today, (35) was only 25 back in 2007 when Kenyans lost their humanity and burned each other in a most horrifying fashion where killing by blunt objects and machetes did not suffice.

Our collective ability to accept things and move on is quite staggering. Activist Boniface Mwangi through picture mtaani has given Kenyans a Post-Election Violence (PEV) memorial but we clearly moved on.

Otherwise how do you explain the dangerous rhetoric by our politicians and the bile our youth are spewing on social media in the name of freedom of speech?

Politicians have stood in public rallies and called for the extinction of another community and people-largely youth cheered in this madness. Someone has to put a stop to this before we find ourselves on the re-set button.

Here is how to play your part as a youth without giving up your freedom of speech or any other freedoms you are most likely to lose if you keep on this self-destructive path.

Firstly, realize that silence is truly golden. You don’t have to comment on every online story or social media posts. Develop self-restraint. But if you have to comment respond to the issue-not the person who wrote or posted.

Secondly, Avoid hasty generalization in any conversation verbal or otherwise. If you come across a comment from a Luo or a Kikuyu, kindly remember it does not represent the views of their respective communities.

Fake News

Consequently, remember this is the age of fake news don’t let your emotions run high over fake stuff. Here’s a quick guide at detecting fake news:

  1. Check the source of information; is it a credible site? Or does it look like something hastily created to spread propaganda? Here’s a pointer, credible sites are not shrouded in mystery.
  2. Check the date. You could be fuming over history! This is especially important to note if you’re the type that shares articles or posts that excite you positively or negatively.
  3. Check your biases. Ask yourself why the story irks you? This is especially important for ardent political party supporters. It could just be a cold truth. Don’t let the love for your party blind you from truth.
  4. Check the author. What stories have they done in the past? What’s their expertise? Are they even real or it’s a propaganda bot? Be wary of political posts or articles with no bylines.
  5. Don’t stop at the headline. Sometimes overzealous editors use sensational headlines. Don’t comment until you read the entire story. Why embarrass yourself?
  6. Confirm story with links provided. If a site claims a story is based on a link they’ve provided, click on that link to confirm-also follow steps 1-5 on that new link.
  7. If you are lost for time or are just lazy simply ask an expert. There are enough credible journalists online who can point you in the right direction. Don’t make yourself a fool.
  8. Check if it is a joke; when political temperatures are as high as they currently are, some people like to blow off steam with practical jokes. Don’t get caught flat foot. Trick is to never overreact.

Cultivating your mind

While the list above is quite instructive the real challenge sometimes is that we have a youth that hardly engages its mind at best and at worst, one that has nothing in the mind to engage.

If you are constantly finding yourself fighting with other people on social media over what a politician you both don’t know has said, you need to be worried about the state of your mind.

Read books, especially about this country. Otherwise you will become easy target for politicians who want to use you, feeding you propaganda. Knowledge helps you separate the wheat from the chaff! And there’s a lot of chaff at this point.

Lastly, get busy. If you have too much time on your hands or lots of data bundles between now and the scheduled presidential repeat-polls then try learn something new on YouTube. It’s better to improve self than waste time fighting imaginary enemies.

Better yet, read about other tribes and know something more about the people you spend time hating. We will need to live after October 26th , 2017!

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