Political training for the youth ahead of pivotal General Elections

More than 300 young female and male Kenyans from over 25 political parties will participate in the political education programme. This is part of the collaboration between the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD-Kenya) and the Danish Liberal Democratic Party/Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy aimed to strengthen and consolidate political parties through an increased participation of the youth in a meaningful and empowering way. The cooperation will also see the strengthening of communication strategies and tools of political parties in Kenya to enhance internal and external communication processes, applying, among other things, innovative internet/Smartphone platforms.

The objective of the political education programme is to offer support to political parties to develop programs that will contribute to a significant increase in the level of political awareness among the youth (18-35 years) and sharpen their interest towards meaningful participation in political parties.  It will also provide a great opportunity for the youth to clearly understand opportunities presented by the Kenya Constitution 2010 and other frameworks such as the Political Parties Act 2011. Commenting on the programme, CMD-Kenya youth committee chairman, Antony Kaara said that while women have moved with speed to strategize on actualizing the gains made in the Constitution, young people stand to lose a rare great opportunity to be constructively involved in public decision making by being unaware of the entry points to the range of available opportunities under the new dispensation.

The Political Parties Act 2011 for instance, is a robust law providing a framework within which parties can provide Kenyans with a platform to actively participate in governance and the election of their leaders.   Additionally, among the many things that political parties are constitutionally required to do is respect the right of all persons to participate in the political process, including minorities and marginalized groups such as the youth. The Constitution also safeguards the interest of young people through Article 55 in the Bill of Rights which states that the State shall take measures, including affirmative action programmes, to ensure that the youth have opportunities to associate, be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life.  Being new regulations, many Kenyans are not yet privy to their provisions but the reasonable numbers of young people to be involved in the political education program, shall immensely benefit from the civic education and challenged to aptly utilize their acquired knowledge.

The training will also focus on areas such as public speaking, organizing political campaigning programmes, choosing and articulating policy issues addressing national development, public concerns and public service improvement through traditional and new media. Emphasis will also be placed on developing a good sense of social decorum, reputation and image management as well as how to design and present an educational program for various categories of party members (program dimensions; targeting new voters, women and youth and budgetary allocations).