Articles

Political Exploitation in Kenya’s Governance

By Seliphar Machoni

Politicians promise to empower the youth by providing job opportunities to secure votes and win various political seats. However, after the elections, these promises often change. This was evident during a community engagement event at Kongoni Ward in Likuyani, Kakamega County. The youth complained about being exploited as a means for politicians to gain power.

“I’m tired of being used as a bridge for politicians to gain power,” exclaimed Christine, a participant at the forum. Her sentiment deeply resonated with her peers, who shared stories of being courted during election seasons only to be ignored after elections.

The event aimed to empower youth with knowledge about governance structures and civic responsibilities became a platform for attendees to voice grievances about exploitation in the political arena. For many, the promise of youth empowerment touted by politicians seemed a distant dream, overshadowed by manipulation and neglect.

“It’s as if politicians see youth as commodities. When they need votes, we are important to them. They promise us jobs and opportunities, but once they secure seats, they forget about us until the next election cycle,” a participant said.

This sentiment sheds light on a systemic issue plaguing Kenya’s political landscape. Despite being the majority demographic, youth find themselves marginalized and overlooked in decision-making processes shaping their future.

“Siasa Place is committed to amplifying youth voices and advocating for meaningful governance inclusion. But much work remains to bridge the rhetoric-action gap, which will only happen when youth hold leaders accountable,” affirmed Theodora, Siasa Place Programs Assistant.

The disconnection between political promises and tangible action has left many disillusioned. As the forum concluded, participants voiced determination to demand accountability and seek genuine avenues for participation.

“We refuse to be mere pawns in political chess. We demand an equal stake in shaping our country’s future, not tokenism,” echoed a participant nicknamed “Opposition.”

As Kenya gears up for the 2027 elections, the voices of its youth remind us that true democracy cannot thrive amid exploitation and indifference. The challenge lies in translating these voices into actionable change and holding leaders accountable for promised youth empowerment and inclusive governance.

In Kenya’s corridors of power, the political echoes of its youth grow louder, demanding to be heard, seen, and valued not as pawns but as architects of change.

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