Youth Agenda Affirmative Action

Youth Agenda Affirmative Action

Monday, 13 February 2017


How ‘Bling Bling’ Will Get You Arrested in Kenya
First of all, a Genius of the Year Award to whoever said Pizza makes everything better.
I mean political conversations are hectic.
Whether it’s a political chat, a debate, a confrontation, or a rally. As long as it is politics, bet your house it’s hectic.

Well, only until you throw in the ‘magic word’
Ladies and Gentlemen, a standing ovation for whoever invented it (history is yet to decide who that will be)
Last week Terrific Tuesday Pizza showed up and showed out. Instead of enduring a hectic political anything, we basically went right into it and effortlessly held the honorable members accountable for every single issue that was brought up.

Honestly, initially I thought it would be a bit hard having the conversation. Politics are known to be not just hectic, but dirty too. And young people, let’s just say we could do with a few lessons on emotional intelligence especially when it comes to our leaders.
As the pizza hit home, the microphone went round the room. Questions were raised, answers were passed back.
It was beautiful to realize that the young people in Kenya are concerned about our Film Industry. So much support has been put behind Nollywood (you’re welcome Nigeria) by Kenyans that sometimes you’d think you’re hanging out somewhere in Lagos rather than Nairobi.

It was pleasant to hear Hon. Johnson Sakaja encourage the young people to claim their space in national leadership. To identify what they are good in and believe in it and invest in it and polish it up and push it forward diligently and never stop ‘till they drop! Coming from a young man that started his political journey as a campaign driver for the 3rd President of Kenya and now has the 4th President’s ear, you bet I personally tattooed those words in my conscious.
Nominated Senator Hon. Martha Wangari didn’t let us down with her wit and eloquence. She not only answered every question that flew her way but also dished out her opinion on the other questions and took a break to give words of wisdom to the young folk. She encouraged us to get involved in legislative bills because she strongly believed the future is in our hands already.

Pizza Inn Ngong Road was an idealvenue, graced by  Hon Ken Okoth, MP Kibra Constituency, a performer that many young people admire for articulating youth agendas( including urging us to not only eat the pizza but take a voters card) and a good manager of Kibra’s CDF fund with diligence. One would wonder why someone would want to deny youth such a good leader. Wait a minute, who would think one question among many would take the temperature of the room a scale higher?
I didn’t see it coming either but it did.
The question on the victimization of the youth by police officers.
The young folk stated clearly that it’s wrong and unjust to institute severe punishment measures for petty crimes. Theyposed, “how can one be arrested for loitering in their own country” or dressing like a young person because they are young (doesn’t make sense, right?)

While Honorable members acknowledged there’s no such thing as loitering with intent to commit crime (much to our satisfaction), Hon. Sakaja was also quick to point out the cost of wearing certain outfits like ‘bling’ that are associated with gangs. Police officers will naturally pick up on hints, whichever hints, to eradicate crime. Sometimes it will involve a futile chase, sometimes a night in the cell for mistaken identity, sometimes a bullet may be faster than the negotiations.
Let’s just say in a country where the levels of crime perpetrated by youth are alarming and disturbing, you really want to be on the safe side. It’s just bling.
The most exciting experience though, was watching technology do what it does best, take us to those far from us and that was so evident when our hash tag #AskMeAnything was the number one trending topic on Twitter, bringing more people into the room than we had imagined.
 Generally the conversation was involving, clear and vision-driven because the aim of all of us was and still is to make and see a better country for all generations; past, present and future. 

And that was well put by the talented Holy Dave in a Spoken Word performance at the end.
So cliques and clicks, selfies and more selfies and it was great ending to a great beginning.
I saw the power and strength and the unity that flows through when everyone is given a safe place to process and express what they feel about a particular issue. It doesn’t matter which side of the court you’re playing.
In the end we are on the same team and that is living out the vision we have for this great nation.
So, to everyone that played for #TeamKenya, thanks.
And thanks again pizza, for doing what you do best, making everything better.
Long live Kenya.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016


Donald Trump after his victory speech.

Someone once said, "expect the unexpected. A personality who brands himself as a racist, misogynist, and a sexist, is now fortified to be the 45th president of the free world, USA. Many right now would argue that US is not so free anymore.

Donald Trump during the primaries.

Donald Trump it is!
A president known to have character defects and one who champions positions viewed as offensive to many,of course no one could take him seriously in this day and age, but guess what, our worst fears have been confirmed.
The mainstream media around the world called him a clown, other movers and shakers called him the biggest joke of the year, hence there was no need to give him an ear. The media message was: Donald Trump cannot win,Clinton represents the America that we need.

As projected by the media

Well, all that was turned upside down, call it a slap in the face. Larry King revealed that Donald Trump had told him that he wanted to run for presidency, since 1980. Well 2016 was set to be his year to battle against all odds.
For the first time in history, the mainstream media, political establishment, wall street and the polls projections couldn't be more inaccurate and wrong. The Clinton propagators seemed to be thriving on wishful thinking and were completely disconnected from the reality that was happening on the ground. It seems that the american people misled the pollsters by either giving them incorrect information about who is the more popular candidate. It's also clear that the political establishment is disconnected to the electorate's thoughts and feelings.

The polls Trump / Clinton
A lot of questions remain as this upset has come to pass, not to mention that the stock market has been behaving in an interesting way since the announcement of Trump's triumph.

Americans are angry. This vote demonstrates anger against the elite and the establishment and people are tired of it. Donald Trump will go down in history as the most controversial and flamboyant president in history.
Now you must be asking the million dollar question, why on earth did the american electorate vote for this so called "sociopath" ? Well according to his supporters, during his campaigns, he would voice the thoughts of many the Americans of which they would not voice out in public.

The Trump supporters

51% of the american voters supported the rhetoric of Muslim ban. He also appealed to the voters because of the way he spoke - he talked of issues that people talk about in the privacy of their homes. He is known to hate political correctness of which the Obama administration stood for in the last 8 years.According to the Breibart Website, he is known to "make the unsayable sayable."

Donald Trump also influenced most of the american people by leveraging more on social media. Since the mainstream media had decided to brand him as an 'inappropriate presidential candidate' he chose to communicate directly to the people and tried to navigate his message around the media, though it was not easy.

As much as he appealed to his supporters, Trump was a magnet for racism, misogyny and he managed to front his rhetoric.He struck a cord, hit a nerve with many of electorate who seem to be rubbed off the wrong way.
Clinton and Trump face off
The Russian media fell in love with Trump simply because for once, they had someone who wanted to create a relationship with them, not declare hate upon them, not like Hillary who was anti-russia.

Hillary did not deliver her concession speech as it's customary of a candidate who has lost the election.

Well, what can i say?This is a historic political earthquake and Donald Trump is now in to shake things up.
Despite being unpopular with the media, wall street, Hollywood  and donors, he managed to confound pollsters at every turn.

Clearly this has been the most divisive campaign in history and as they say, things will never be the same again.

Thursday, 3 November 2016


A young woman vied for a political seat in the last year’s general elections. Possessed with zeal and passion to go after what she wanted, she knew that the road ahead would be plagued with nothing but challenges of intimidation by the male opponents, insults, not to mention, to the very point of extreme, physical violence. This did not deter her though, for she had the nerves of steel as she was prepared, armed and ready to take on anyone who tried to put her down. She calls for a meeting to sell her brand and manifestos, only to have someone try to pull down her skirt. 

She postponed the meeting to be held in the next 2 weeks. As a young, unmarried woman, she faced verbal abuse from her male opponents in public. As if that was not enough, She faced harassment and hooliganism at the polling stations. Honestly, someone else would not have gone that far. There are many like her who are pursuing the dream of sitting with policy makers to affect change in the country by averting the status quo, brought in by political heavyweights who have overstayed their term.

The past political leadership in Kenya has been characterized by none other than graft, status quo and tribalism. In the current dispensation, the same crop of political leadership are campaigning on the platform of change, which is outdated since that was what Jubilee government advocated for. Youth and women, who make up the special interest groups have made up their minds that it’s about time that they take the bull by the horns, if they want to see visible and transparent economic development in the country. 

The road to ascension of leadership for the special interest groups has not been easy for it seems to the veterans that these special interest groups need a form of tough and ugly initiation in order to “fit in” or “join the club.”The dominant political parties in the region are making it hard for the special interest groups to engage hence the need for lobby groups to push forth the agenda of increasing participation for the special interest groups in the mainstream parties for effective representation.

Key obstacle that the special interests groups face is the financial bit. The veteran opponents are well moneyed and networked to the grassroots level while the youth and women still have to figure out how to raise millions just to affect their campaign strategies. These special interest groups have been met with violence for expressing their desire to be political representatives. It’s clear that the veteran opponents are ready to outline the battle of supremacy by cowing them into silence lest they be brutally ‘punished.’ 

This experience thereby creates apathy among the youth and women citing that no idle threats were made but a promise to create chaos and confusion during their campaign period. Others have resulted to selling their vote for meager returns due to the pounded ‘status quo’ belief system that youth and women are simply not ready for political leadership, whereas the opposite is true. There’s also lack of motivation among the special interest groups or there are individuals who may have the answers to the ongoing problems plaguing the country in terms of leadership, but they chose not to bat an eyelid.

It’s not exactly front page news that young women (18-27yrs) are not interested in voting, attending political rallies, protesting, blogging or speaking and debating on political issues that affect the country. In young women’s minds, issues to do with politics is mainly associated with men. They don’t want to be seen as loud mouthed or politically incorrect.

The VoteADada initiative courtesy of the Youth agenda, Oxfam and FIDA couldn’t have come at a better time. Its main focus is to address the reluctance of women to put themselves forward as candidates let alone consider a political career. The initiative also vouches for equal representation in positions of leadership. One must be persistent, passionate and possess the nerves of steel if he or she feels the call to a political office hence the need to train aspirants on importance of equal representation and how to wade off or not to be shaken by the challenges that comes with vying for a political position.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016


Women aspirants in the VoteaDada Launch in Kisii.  Photo: Kevin Wabungo

By Kevin Wabungo - AMPRSK

‘Some leaders are born women.” This quote by Geraldine Ferraro resonate greatly with women aspiring for elective positions in Kisii County following the Women in Leadership campaign dubbed VOTEADADA.
The campaign launched on October 13, 2016 attracted over 75 women aspirants in various posts ranging from Deputy Governor, Member of Parliament, Women representative and Member of County Assembly. The group were informed on the areas of personal branding as well as best practice in manifesto formulation.

women aspirants in the VoteaDada launch in Kisii. Photo: Kevin Wabungo
The workshop also served as an avenue for women to highlight some of the challenges they were facing at a peer-to-peer level. Some of these included the financial inability of the candidate to support their campaigns over and above the late entry into the political arena. It was noted that most women contenders ventured into the political realm way too late and at the point where party nominations had already been done. This put them at a great disadvantage despite their popularity with the electorate.

Additionally, there has also been a stereotype among the general public that women are perceived to belong in the kitchen. You may recall the recent utterance by the Nigerian President MuhammaduBuhari with remarks to his wife that, “I don't know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.” Read more here. Such statements are used against women especially during the campaign period that leaves them limping even before the real battle has begun.

training session in the VoteaDada initiative at Kisii. Photo by Kevin Wabungo

Among the challenges highlighted were also self-inflicting. Case in point is where women mistreat their own kind either at work, home or even business premises. Later on they present themselves to these very people as hopefuls for elective positions. More over the lack of understanding of the electoral process is also a major hindrance in bidding for these political posts.

Through the two day workshop the women candidates had their skills sharpened on how best to craft their manifestos with a primary focus on issues facing their constituents and what solutions they intend to offer. More importantly, the aspect of dressing for political rallies and communicating policies was greatly emphasized. 

Young aspirant participates in VoteADada initiative. Photo: Kevin Wabungo

The journey to having more women in elective posts has begun in Kisii County. Youth Agenda will keep you updated via this blog with the most recent happenings on the #VoteADada caravan. 

Kisii women contenders at the VoteADada initiative. Photo: Kevin Wabungo

Tuesday, 1 November 2016


The VoteADada initiative staff during the Kisii trip.

The trip to Kisii was indeed a memorable one. Through the VoteADada initiative, we had gone to train Kisii women aspirants on Manifesto development and personal branding. After the training we got into sightseeing and interacting with the locals.

We indulged ourselves into buying of accessories, vitenges and other products created by the locals.

Traditional necklaces sold in Kisii

It is notable that Kisii is a place of beauty. The place was pretty cool and we were happy to be away from all the hustle and bustle that describes the city in the sun. The environment was refreshing, a good place to just rest and take stall of everything that you want to do. A place where you can simply gather your thoughts and come out rejuvenated. This is definitely a break that we needed. 

call it window shopping if you may!


The VoteADada initiative staff during the Kisii trip.

The trip to Kisii was indeed a memorable one. Through the VoteADada initiative, we had gone to train Kisii women aspirants on Manifesto development and personal branding. After the training we got into sightseeing and interacting with the locals.

We indulged ourselves into buying of accessories, vitenges and other products created by the locals.

Traditional necklaces sold in Kisii

It is notable that Kisii is a place of beauty. The place was pretty cool and we were happy to be away from all the hustle and bustle that describes the city in the sun. The environment was refreshing, a good place to just rest and take stall of everything that you want to do. A place where you can simply gather your thoughts and come out rejuvenated. This is definitely a break that we needed. 

call it window shopping if you may!

Monday, 31 October 2016


These are the chronicles of Anna and her published works. A humble, hardworking and innovative lady is born in a dysfunctional family that is characterized by violence, alcohol and lack of tender, loving care from her folks and siblings. Amidst all the chaos and drama that engulfed her environment, she found a guardian angel in school who offered her a shoulder to cry on whenever she was stressed due to the strange happenings at home. This guardian angel came to her in form of her class teacher, who in her own right, had investigated and found that her home was not a safe haven for Anna. She Intervened and decided to take the matter to the authorities, which saw the young Anna being taken from her home and then on, made a permanent home with her aunty, who took care of her until she attained a law degree in one of the most prestigious universities in Africa.
Anna, well aware of her background decides to delve in deep research and write, exploring the home environment, trying to explore whether kids are being taken care of and whether the parents are fit. As a brilliant researcher and writer, she publishes many articles and papers on the topic. 2 years down the line she gets married to Joe, who insists that she needs to change her publication name by omitting her last surname and including the husband’s name. Owing her love and affection to Joe, she obliges, which spirals to her losing the credibility in the world of publications. Some of the works that she had penned down were considered not to be hers anymore because of her changed surname.
Anna is discouraged. She has tried to talk to her husband about the issue but the husband has given her an ultimatum that if she tries to revert back to her maiden name, she’ll get a divorce.

This is a dilemma that Anna and many like her are facing. A man’s name changes not even after getting hitched to his significant other. Should ladies, involved in academics, be forced to change their names in their publications as far as marriage is concerned? Aren’t ladies also allowed to be authority figures in their areas of specialization? Be that as it may, they say “it’s still a man’s world.”

This is an issue that is experienced by women in the academia but is seldom highlighted as an issue. There’s a solution. Take an example of Janet Mbugua, a journalist working for Citizen is a good example to follow. When she got married, she hyphenated her husband’s name after her two names. Every work that she has published is still acknowledged under her new name.

So that a situation like Anna’s does not arise in future, single ladies in higher learning institutions should be sensitized about this contentious issue of changing names. Advocacy should be championed by women who’ve made it in the publishing sphere of influence to encourage young ladies to continue to publish even after settling down with a partner. Hyphenation of a name after marriage is seldom known among the African women; hence the need to spread the word on the issue; especially among the young, African women.

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