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Why Kenyan youth are feeling betrayed

Here in Kenya, attaining the age of 18 is a highly anticipated milestone for many young individuals, as it comes with responsibilities and the right to cast votes during General Elections.

Young people eagerly look forward to participating in the democratic process and having a say in choosing their leaders, with the hope that their needs and interests will finally be taken into account.

However, after an intense campaign season last year, the excitement of many youths who voted for the very first time in the last General Election has turned into disappointment.

During the August 9, 2022 General Election, candidates at all levels, promised job opportunities for the youth. However, very few, if any, of these promises have been fulfilled.

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In Kenya, and indeed many other countries across Africa, the youth have always been vulnerable to political manipulation with false promises from those seeking political offices. It often ends in disappointment, bitterness and frustration.

Although job creation for the youth is a priority in Kenya, it seems to have taken a backseat as other seemingly ‘more pressing’ issues dominate the political discourse. This neglect has contributed to a sense of betrayal among the young population.

In recent weeks, Kenya has witnessed anti-government protests led by the opposition coalition Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition. Many young people across the country participated in these demos.

However, this activism has come at a big cost, with injuries and several deaths reported, leaving the youth feeling abandoned by the government.

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With over 80 per cent of Kenya’s population being 35 years and below, the nation’s strength lies within its young citizens.

However, the lack of opportunities and a deliberate sustainable plan for the youth empowerment continues to hinder their potential from being fully realized.

The disillusionment and sense of betrayal felt by young people in Kenya calls for an urgent need for meaningful and inclusive policies that prioritize youth development and aspirations.

Only through genuine efforts and comprehensive planning will the country tap into the unique abilities and untapped skills of its young population, ensuring a prosperous and promising future for all.

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