What you need to know:
- Political leaders have mastered the art of luring boda boda operators to support their political ambitions.
- That results in their developing strong ideologies and beliefs around societal and political issues.
A big percentage of youth in the country are boda boda riders in a bid to make ends meet. And, for a long time, boda boda operators have been the primary target and victims of radicalisation and extremism by politicians.
Political leaders have mastered the art of luring them to support their political ambitions. That results in their developing strong ideologies and beliefs around societal and political issues. This they achieve by offering them goodies, which include money and other lucrative deals, especially during the electioneering period.
We are about seven months to the general election, a critical time where most young lives are lost while others lose a sense of direction in life. This is the time when many politicians, if not all, tend to put on a caring demeanour that they display to the youth calculatedly. The youth always fall into the trap, thinking that the politicians have their interest at heart.
Boda boda riders are often seen escorting politicians during rallies and campaigns. That is not only presumed to add “flavour” to the main event but also send a strong message to the public that they support the particular leader.
Exploitation of the youth
As electioneering period gathers momentum, incumbent and aspiring political leaders have been spotted on the frontline, sending red alerts to the riders and other youth to steer clear of leaders who want to exploit them to fulfill their own selfish desires at their expense.
In light of the high rate of unemployment among the youth, coupled with the high cost of living and many other challenges, it is clear that there is pure exploitation of the youth by political leaders. But the youth could be knowingly or unknowingly allowing themselves be misused.
But even with the sensitisation and awareness about radicalisation among the youth, the big question remains: Who is to blame? Is it the leaders who take advantage of the opportunity or the youth, who seemingly appear desperate?
Ms Shisia is a journalist and media practitioner. [email protected]