Youth hold the card to 2017 polls

Electorates listening to their leaders in a political party campaign.Picture:Henry Owino
Electorates listening to their leaders in a political party campaign.Picture:Henry Owino

As the clock ticks to the August 8 date of the General Election in Kenya, thousands of Kenyans are waiting to cast their votes as a democratic way of electing their political leaders.

Each person who is vying should have their manifesto to help sell themselves as the best to take the positions they are vying for. However, while leadership styles may be different, Kenyans want leaders who will allow them meet their aspirations as the citizenry of this country.

Currently, the 19.6 million registered voters hold the power of determining who will take the seats.

Although voters have the final say to re-elect or elect another political leader to represent their interests, there are key issues voters need to reflect on they will be electing before they cast their votes.

According to Muumbi King’ori, Social Commentator, there are four types of leaders; Thought leaders, Courageous leaders, Inspirational leaders and Servant leaders. Each one of them fits appropriately to various positions.

Thought leaders harness the power of ideas to actualize change. They stretch their followers by helping them envision new possibilities.

Courageous leaders pursue a vision in the face of considerations about their mission (purpose), vision (both long term and short term) and values (right and wrong). They speak up for their core beliefs and fight for their values, even when their stand is unpopular.

Inspirational leaders promote change by the power of their passionate commitment to ideas and ideals. They lift our eyes from present practicalities to future possibilities.

Servant leaders care deeply about people as they seek to remove the barriers and obstacles that hold others back from achieving their full potential. They strive to create an environment where their followers can do their best work.

Out of the about 19 million voters, there is a category that makes the majority.  These are the 10 million youth in the 18 and 35 year age bracket.  It is time youth defy all shackles of retrogressive ethnic politics and interrogate all political candidates aspiring to be leaders in this country.

Francis Atwoli, COTU Secretary General said: “These are numbers that cannot be ignored. The youth have the power to decide who becomes president, who becomes a county governor, and who controls important law-making and oversight institutions of the County Assembly, the National Assembly and Senate.”

Atwoli emphasized: “Youth have it in their hands power to determine the leadership and the destiny of this country, the problem is that they don’t know.”

Atwoli challenged voters to remember the words of Paul B. Thornton, top American business author who said that “effective leaders believe that individuals and organizations, and even nations possess undiscovered talents and untapped resources”.

Atwoli noted leaders should seek to unleash the full potential of their followers, so they can reach greater heights and go farther than they previously thought possible.

“Do not elect leaders the Kenyan style on the basis of tribe, clan, religion, beauty, populace or utterances made in,” Atwoli cautioned. He added: “Instead focus on trust, faithfulness, steadfast and determination to take citizens to next level.”

On the other hand King’ori reiterated that a leader should be someone who does not profit from the misery of others, and instead has a true passion for change that would bind all Kenyans together.

“We need a President who will welcome ideas to change the story of traffic, hunger, corruption, inflation, food prices, and inequalities,” King’ori argued. “We want a leaders who are well-informed about domestic and foreign policies.”

King’ori reiterated that a leader must be ready to hold accountable people entrusted with public responsibilities, hold accountable people who put project money in their own pockets and leave citizens in the dark.

“We need problem solver, whose passion is making things work, a unifier of Kenyans. With many beautiful ethnic groups, show them it’s not about who is, but about dealing with challenges facing citizens,” King’ori explained.

King’ori pointed out: “We need leaders who will respect and serve with dignity of the people who gave them that power. A leader should be a role model to the followers especially the youth who are easy to influence.”

For instance, farmers need a leader who supports them and understands the importance of farming and trade. Doctors and teachers want a leader who understands their services and role in the society hence do not need to keep on going on strike while health and children put in danger.

Electorates should be cautious while electing their county and national leaders by not letting a KSh100 bribe define their fate for the next five years.

Therefore as Kenyans go to the polls on August 8, it should be not be about Jubilee, or NASA or independent candidates. It should be about electing true leaders based on ideologies as described on the four types of leaders.

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