Political Dialogues

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Under the Heinrich Boell Stiftung-East & Horn of Africa supported project Youth Promoting Inter-ethnic Harmony through Political Dialogue in Nairobi County, youth from five informal settlements in Nairobi held political dialogues between 22nd November and 15th December 2017. The dialogue forums which were held in Dandora, Kawangware, Korogocho, Kibra and Mathare aimed at promoting inter-ethnic and political tolerance. Three sets of forums were held in each of the settlements bringing together 25 youth from Jubilee party and 25 from the NASA coalition. The forums gave the youth a safe space to not only interrogate their reasons for supporting either side of the political divide but also talk to each other candidly about the things they did not like about each other’s behavior. The youth appreciated the forums which they said were the first of their kind. Most organizations preached peace but now for the first time, they were able to face each other and talk to each other openly. From the discussions, it was evident that most of the youth do not understand the manifestos of the parties they follow. Their allegiance to particular political parties is not issues based but rather it is informed by factors like blind loyalty to personalities, following in their parents’ footsteps or even handouts. The youth also realized how they are all grappling with similar challenges regardless of which political divide they belong to. There was general consensus that the youth were the losers when they agreed to be manipulated by the politicians. The politicians themselves differed politically but never fought each other. Instead, they used the youth to fight their battles for them. Asserting that every person has a right to their own political opinions and to support political parties of their choice, the youth committed to make their own decisions instead of following politicians blindly. Under the tag phrases #Siasa isi 2 divide and #Siasa Mbaya Huleta Hasara, the youth agreed to disagree without resulting to violence. They also agreed that they belong to one tribe that is called Vijanaa (youth) and they undertook to join hands to hold their leaders accountable so that youth issues can be included in development plans.

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