Youth in Migori County have called on enforcement of laws regulating election finances to give all candidates a level playing ground in polls.
In a press conference in Migori town several youths who are vying in the next polls said in a joint statement that the law allowed capping of finances which will encourage youths to vie after complains elections are expensive.
“The law was key in capping and regulating amount of money to be used in each seat and for politicians and parties to reveal their sources of funds this will make it affordable for youths and vulnerable people to vie in elections,” Charles Olwamba, a program officer with Amref Health Africa who convened the meeting in Migori town said.
In 2010, Kenyans passed the constitution whose article 88 gave Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) mandate to regulate amount of money candidates and their agents can use in elections cycles.
Olwamba said despite the implementation of the act being pushed to next polls, “there is fear that even then it will never be implemented again and never will.”
He said in the just concluded party primaries, many youths were picked as candidates in the next polls but there is still fear of apathy at the ballot which was seen as most youths refused to register as voters.
“We have a notion that politics is expensive, but with this law it will level the playfield,” Olwamba sai.
The group said the enforcement of the law has been pushed again in this polls, to next polls that will be 14 years since it was established and the saddest thing is that in the next polls it may not be effected.
They said the law will bring objectivity in politics way above money and will encourage more youths, or leaders without money to face off with incumbents.
“The notion that elections are expensive have pushed away many potential leaders from seeking elective posts, especially youths,” he said.
He said Kenya should borrow a leaf from Brazil who law on financial regulations “has very strict and hefty penalties which included culprits being locked out from two election cycles.”
South Kanyamkago MCA Graham Kagali said apart from being candidates in polls, youths should take part in politics either as community mobilisers, policy formulators and take part in campaign mobilization.
“Not all youths can be in politics as candidates, but in the past youths have helped in pushing through policies in assemblies especially mobilising community to push through government agenda,” Kagali said.
William Owigo, Kaler MCA aspirant as Independent candidate said during the meeting they have agreed that youths should never be used to cause chaos ahead of polls.
“Migori has been flagged as a political violence hotspot area by government, we have agreed as youths seeking leadership to ensure our colleagues are not used to mete violence,” he said.