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02 August 2017

Kenya election: Views of first-time voters

Young people vote could determine the outcome of next week’s general election in Kenya as nearly half of the country’s more than 19 million eligible voters are under 35. So what are they thinking?

The BBC’s Dickens Olewe met a group of 22-year-olds – all first-time voters – in the capital, Nairobi.


Sharon Ndoigo

“I will be voting for the first time because I think my participation will help to bring about change in Kenya.

“I however have my reservations about the credibility and preparedness of the electoral commission. Despite these concerns I don’t want to sit out and not take part in this important election.

“I think my vote will add to others who want to see us progress and change this country for the better.

“All my family members registered to vote in another town so we will not be in Nairobi as a precaution, just in case there’s trouble after the election.”


Brian Ngeta

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“I knew little about Kenyan politics and the history of this country but I have spent time reading about it and I can say that I am well informed. It is something that I encourage others to do and I think it would help change their perception of politics.

“Ethnicity, which is a big issue in this election, cannot be wished away.

“I just think that if Kenyans care so much about voting for people from their ethnic community, then they should choose the best ones. If you look at the people who are running now, they are not necessarily the best leaders from those communities.”


Christine Mangi

“My family is divided between the two main coalition parties: the National Super Alliance (NASA) and Jubilee Party.

“We have had vibrant debates about our choices but we are solid in our support of the side we back. Our debates have not been able to change any minds.

“I have already made my choice and I can’t wait to vote.”


Sheryrl Akinyi

“I actually voted last time in 2013, but I consider this election to be my first because last time my dad told me who to vote for.

“This time I have taken time to know the candidates and their policies and I will be making an informed decision.

“In my opinion, the manifestos of the two main parties are progressive and I think whoever wins the presidential race Kenya will be OK as long as they faithfully implement the plans they have sold to voters. “


Kenneth Wahome

“I have read the manifestos of the two main parties and they have all made solid proposals that will help the youth in Kenya. Sadly, past experience makes us doubt if they’ll deliver on the lofty promises.

“My number one issue is job opportunities. Even though I’m currently at university I would like to work part-time but those opportunities are not available.

“I want to see the government create an environment for safe transition for the youth, from school to the job market.

“Other issues like security for all Kenyans will guide my choice in this election.”


Tracy Awiti

“I feel well prepared for the vote.

“I’m a reporter in the Kibera area [a poor part of Nairobi] and I’m exposed to a variety of people’s stories and this has given me a rare and privileged window into their lives.

“I understand how the right policies that are well implemented could change lives for the better.

“I have discussed the manifestos of the two main parties and I have a good grasp of their policies. I have also looked at what individual candidates are offering and I feel that I will be making an informed choice in this election. “


Michael Idambo

“I had my chance to vote in 2013 but I didn’t because the queue was long and I was just not patient enough to wait.

“I am well organised this time round, I shopped around and registered to vote in a polling station with few voters, so I’m certain of two things: I won’t be queuing for long and I will be voting.”

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