The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) marked this year’s International Day of Democracy in collaboration with the Universities and Colleges Students’ Peace Association (UCSPAK) on 15th September 2023 at the Technical University of Kenya Nairobi City County.
The event provided a platform for the young scholars to get mentored by a select young elected leaders present and give their perspectives on the country’s journey of country’s democracy in line with the UN-declared theme; Empowering the next generation. Besides the address and insights from invited guests, ORPP, and a host of speakers, the session provided student-led conversation on the topics; Mindset shift; translating participation into youth leadership, and Digital space for youth empowerment. Discussions placed premium on the practical avenues of youth participation in political and the larger spectrum of leadership, a critical crux to the growth of the country’s democracy.
While speaking as one of the lead speakers during the forum, Assistant Registrar CPA Florence Birya lauded the engagement, terming it as one of the many ORPP deliberate efforts in creating the nexus between practicing leaders with the youth. She noted such fora, are some of the ways of shifting the mindset of the youth.
“The ORPP is desirous of creating platforms like this for the youth and other Special Interest Groups to exercise and enjoy their political rights and larger safeguarding of our democracy”,Assistant Registrar.
She further outlined youth-responsive initiatives the ORPP had set up such as digital platforms for a raft of services; legal reform to infuse technology use, and targeted capacity building that had placed the Office at the centre of promoting democracy. The Assistant Registrar pointed out issues such as lack of mentorship, knowledge gaps, political interference, and fear as some of the challenges that befall young people from fully taking up political leadership.
“We encourage you to join political parties and strategically participate fully in their activities as a platform towards your leadership aspirations and voicing out youth-specific issues”CPA Florence Birya
The keynote speaker Hon. Cynthia Muge County Women Member of the National Assembly, Nandi called the participants to use their competitive advantage of their numbers and other tools such as social media to advocate their agenda. At the same, she applauded the youth for progressive participation in political activities including in the 2022 General Election, in which their number was a determinant.
“It is our delight to partner with ORPP in such an important engagement. Youth deserve and need more of this. We will foster such partnerships to reach out to more youth across the country”, appreciated Allan Chacha, the CEO of UCSPAK.
Panels that included a section of ORPP technical officers, student leaders, and youth in varied leadership positions pointed to the opportunity in digital space to propagate progressive discussions and information exchange to the growth and positioning of Kenya’s democratic gain.
The event was moderated by Beatrice Nderi, ORPP’s Head of Partnership and linkages who was also the lead organizer