Feature: Kenya's millennials relish record participation in just concluded polls

2017-08-13 14:25:19 GMT2017-08-13 22:25:19(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

by Ejidiah Wangui

NAIROBI, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Dennis Ng'ang'a has uploaded over 10 photos of his pinky finger bearing a dark purplish blue mark on his facebook page, a proof that he took part in country's historic elections on Aug. 8.

It was Ng'ang'a's first time to take part in a general elections and he is not taking it for granted.

The first-time voter is capitalizing on the situation to send a message to fellow youth and the 19-year-old felt that casting his vote is in itself a milestone.

He achieved his singular mission of electing his preferred leaders at all levels of government.

The next step, he says, is making the leaders deliver on their promises. He plans to do so on social media platforms where majority of newly elected leaders are members.

Ng'ang'a is among millions of Kenyan millennials who took part in the general election for the first time and if numbers do not lie, the country's political landscape is headed for a change with the youth becoming more assertive on the kind of leaders they want.

Even though some of the leaders that Ng'ang'a voted for did not make it, he's happy that a Constituency in central business district of Nairobi where he voted, his favorite lawmaker and a renowned artiste has made it to the August House.

"I was at my polling station at 4 a.m. on Tuesday and was very excited to take part in the elections for the first time. I'm a second year Graphic and Design student at the Kenya Technical University and in one year's time I will be out here looking for a job. I want a leader who identifies with my needs and to settle on the ones I voted for, I had to make sure their manifestos addressed my worries," Ng'ang'a to Xinhua during a recent interview.

The Starehe Constituency located at the heart of Kenyan capital where Nganga cast his vote has for decades been represented by old politicians who could hardly connect with the youth.

The situation was different this election cycle since all the leading candidates in the race were below 35 years, a reflection of robust participation of youth in civic affairs.

Grace Adhiambo, a millennial and currently a second year student at the University of Nairobi was not been left behind.

Her Facebook page is replete with photos of her pinky finger, bearing the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) mark, a proof that she also took part in the elections.

A voter in Nairobi's Embakasi East Constituency, Adhiambo is happy that her preferred candidate, also a youth made it to the August House.

Like many of her peers, she is proud to have taken part in the hotly contested elections.

"I was eagerly waiting for the elections and I'm happy to have taken part. In our class back at campus, those who didn't vote will have to buy lunch for the rest of us who voted as a punishment

"I'm glad the number of the youths elected in Tuesday's elections are higher compared to previous elections. I hope the youthful leaders will use their position to address some of the problems we are facing such as joblessness," she said.

Adhiambo believes the youth in Kenya have the numbers to create the kind of leadership they want, saying the few that were elected during Tuesday's elections have the hard task of fulfilling the high expectations from the electorate.

"We did our part, now it is upon the newly elected leaders to live up to their billing. We will be monitoring them closely for the next five years," said Adhiambo.

According to IEBC records, half of the over 15 million Kenyans who took part in the just concluded elections were between 18 and 35 years.

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