By Teddy Otieno, Robert Otieno, John Sande and Florence Dzame
Political discourse shapes our lives in modern day world. It not only sets the stage for a battle ground among various political parties but also gives room to the citizenry to question the leadership bravura of those in elective posts. Now imagine an app that allows you to access information on your ideal political candidate, their party manifesto and performance track record!
The M-Kura (Tuko Ndani Ndani) app, derived from a Swahili catch-phrase that loosely translates to ‘we are in this together’ will provide youth with the much needed information to engage in the electoral process. The app will have information on location of polling station, information for first time voters, including profiles of political candidates. The easy to use interface will change how the user receives consolidated information that is seldom to find.
Ease of access is a key factor in the generation of this application. The platform can be accessed by downloading by M-Kura App from the Google Play Store. In order to use it efficiently, one can also download information as pdf for a small fee by choosing their preferred mode of payment. An sms or email notification will then confirm your payment.
Similarly, the M-kura app will be able to provide information by highlighting electoral boundaries of various regions via maps. This will enable users to view information or details of respective candidates in a given region (county, constituency, or ward). Users will also keep track of the results as tallied through the IEBC interface. Information will also be relayed in the national language- English and translated into Swahili.
Youth in Kenya make up about two-thirds of the population. This means that they have the power to elect leaders who have the best of their interests at heart.Notably, youth in the country have however not made much use of this ‘tyranny of numbers’ at the ballot box to shape political and socio-economic decisions. Due to their lack of interest in politics and inadequate civic education, youth have failed to make the much- needed leap forward by breaking the representative-politics glass ceiling. This was witnessed during the mass voter registration drive, where the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) reported that at least 1.4 million new voters came out to register, falling short of the anticipated 4 million, majority of whom were expected to be the youth.
It is no longer news that the political elite has played the manipulative card on youthful Kenyans, by shifting attention from issue-based to power-hungry politics. Through heinous acts like bribery and motivation to violence, politicians have long enjoyed some sort of ‘security’ within the foul political institution which naturally attracts lower lifeforms interested in the pursuit and application of power.
To address this development problem, the app discourses the issues created by those who seek the brutal ecstasies of domination by way of power. However, of great importance is the premise that the M-Kura app will seek to re-align the contemptible desires of submission orchestrated by those who do not defend their freedom by voting, staying informed and getting involved.
As the old adage goes, there is nothing more foul than a politician except a citizen who submits in cowardice, laziness, apathy and ignorance. In this vein, the M-Kura app will empower youth through voter education, enabling them to understand their contribution to the electoral process. With the 2017 Kenyan General elections close to the bone, continuous educational programs targeting all and sundry will set the pace for a slowly democratizing society. This will ensure that all demographic cohorts are well informed on matters voter education.