Will you vote on August 9th? Wait a minute; the right question should be: did you register to vote? I have left a debate turned argument with my cousin, he didn’t register to vote in the coming general elections and I am upset with him. Allow me to rant on behalf of every registered voter who will turn up to vote for the future of Kenya.
Ray says he didn’t register to vote because it makes no difference. This would have been his first voting experience; he turned 18 last year, but finds the voting experience unworthy. An 18-year-old Kenyan says our votes have no impact to the socio-economic and political future of our country. Isn’t this heart breaking!
This young man says he will do everything we want him to do on August 9th from chauffeuring us as early as 5AM to the polling station, going back home to make us breakfast, even cleaning the dishes and mopping the house, but he will not vote. I ask him who will be the change he wants to see if he does not vote and he says he has not seen anyone accountable to bring the change he wants vying for elective seats.
This young man set to join university to pursue Law in September seems to be winning, but can a lawyer win an argument against a journalist! It is this argument that drove me to research how many Kenyans are not registered to vote. Only 76,000 new voters have registered to vote against a target of 4.5 million new voters as at November 2021.
During a recent Nairobi debate hosted by DW’s online magazine “The 77 percent,” several young people said the current state of politics had turned them off registering as voters. They are screaming that the government has let them down, thus sadly they see no need to have a government. If you have been a leader, you know how it would feel for your people to look you in the eye and say you let them down, but do our leaders care?
I voted in the last general elections but I am not proud I did. Of what good is improved infrastructure when our people are starving to death? Of what good is an increased number of schools when the country’s children cannot attend those schools because citizens cannot afford to pay school fees? Of what good are bilateral trade agreements when all they bring is increased taxation and inflation which leads to unemployment? Of what good is an economy when it is not sustainable to small and medium sized enterprises? Of what good is a government when all they do is loot! I am politically upset and just like Ray I agree they let us down!
They let us down but this shouldn’t be the reason we fail to try again. I am going to try again hoping this time I get it right. As I wake up at 5AM to head to the ballot box on August 9th, I will not only have the presidential aspirant’s manifestos in mind, but the future of Kenya at heart.
I will vote for a stable economy so that every Kenyan can run a business and earn profit from it, I will vote for integrity, accountability and socio economic development. I will vote for a government that protects women and children, but above all I will vote for the future of Kenya.
If my vote can stabilize our economy so that the rate of youth unemployment reduces, basic commodities become affordable, and young Kenyans can set up SME’s and earn sustainable incomes, then I will vote! If my vote can help my 18-year-old cousin find sense to vote in 2027, then I will vote. I hope when he turns 23 he will look back and find reason to vote. What! I cried typing this last part! This is how important my vote in these elections is.
I have never felt as obligated to exercise my voting right as I do today! I will be voting for the future of Kenya and my cousin in mind. What will be on your mind as you vote?
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