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Why are Kenya's GenZ reluctant about 2022 elections? [Pulse Editor's Opinion]

A GenZ Kenyan shares on their experiences and observations leading up to the August 2022 elections

IEBC clerks register students during the launch of voter listing at UoN Towers at the University of Nairobi [Photo: Francis Nderitu]

As Generation Zers, the world of politics holds this metallic taste in our mouths.

It is said to be a dirty game yet we were scolded for playing in the mud as children. We approach it with the timidity of a youthful member of parliament aspirant.

We passively care about politics but its smoke has a direct effect on our developing, suffocating lungs.

The catchphrase 'Wake up at 5:00 a.m. to go make a bad decision' has been music to our ears.

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We had no identity as the electorate and we sucked on adults’ inked thumbs. Wisps of beard appeared and men started whistling at us.

It was time to sweat it out to get identification cards. The application was rigorous but helpful altogether. We got to know about the ward and district we were in - the information we were originally oblivious about.

At the Huduma Centers, the cocky attendants made us rue the decision. They acted as if an identification card were a pass to the place of honey and milk.

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We thought good things take time, only to wait for what seemed like an eternity for IDs with badly captured photos.

The thought of voting had us antsy. We looked forward to this election year as a political analyst looks to a dissecting an opinion poll result.

We reached for our history and government books to appraise ourselves on the intricacies of elections.

Being tech-savvy, we paid a courtesy visit to YouTube and reveled at Mwalimu Mohamed Dida’s impressive responses during a past presidential debate.

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Just when we were concurring with the idea of democracy being a government for the people and by the people, there were political showdowns, alliances, and betrayals.

Dissatisfaction with the leadership among the citizens lay strewn all over after a head-on collision with a speeding economy on neutral gear.

Before we would comprehend, voter registration was up and running. We were reluctant.

Was it worthwhile to pause binging on TikTok reels and line up to be registered as voters?

Was our voting going to count and bring change? Were the bursaries going to be disbursed without fail?

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Was the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) going to be allocated enough funds? We pondered, biting into our nails.

Not even the rallying from a seasoned campaigner would make us register to be voters. A number of us stood our ground and turned a deaf ear.

The promise of job opportunities during election time, however, thawed our obstinate hearts.

With less than five months to the August 9, 2022 decisive polls, we - the generation Z -have our hats in hand.

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We are at crossroads, almost agreeing with Emma Goldman’s "if voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal".

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Pulse as its publisher.

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