Youth and peace

Youth and Peace Building In Kenya Ahead Of The 2022 General Elections

Youths in Kenya have been considered valuable assets in every general election in Kenya due to their numbers and energy. Their involvement in politics have been consequential since independence, they have engaged in protests, violent extremism and inter- ethnic and group clashes as ways of expressing their contentions or obtaining favors.

Youths as we are nearing the general elections can use various platforms to promote peace and avert the repeat of the previous narratives. Use of art and music to promote peace building and peace activism by implementing both individualized and organization based programs. These programs bring the youth with different ideas together as they find a common ground around them like use of sheng language in making music.

The use of technology by the youth to promote peace played a great role in ensuring peaceful 2017 elections for example use of hashtags to promote peace a hashtag initiated  by a 23 – year old university student #Tribeless youth campaign that aimed at addressing tribalism and other ethnic injustices and only voting in leaders by their competency.

Youth based institutions such as secondary schools, universities and colleges play a vital role in influencing the youth participations in politics and elections. Establishing peace programs in these institutions go a long way in enhancing peace. The universities and colleges students peace association of Kenya (UCPAK) an example of the same; according to Rusian Magero the coordinator the program seeks to “promote peace and security, sensitize students on the causes and effects of radicalization with a view of counteracting extremism; unite the youth across ethnic, religious and political backgrounds and promote critical thinking and team spirit among the youth.” Such programs enhance the youths  capability to enhancing peace.

Though youth contribution to peace is financially under-resourced but driven by volunteerism youths can be very useful in ensuring peaceful elections and transitions.