Ms. Susan Mangéni came to be the Youth Chairlady and the automatic member of the National Executive of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) after the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) formed the coalition. Ms. Mangéni is a member of LDP. She said that Kenya has a large pool of youths who participate extensively in politics acting as everything from critical voters to campaigners and general mobilization agents for their parties to foot soldiers and security providers for their political godfathers and leaders from their ethnic groups or regions.
Ms. Mangéni explains that organizationally, the youth in the ODM coalition belong to the Youth wing of the party with one representative in the National Executive. The Youth wing is represented from the lowest cells to the local levels. In an internal letter written by the youth wing of the National Executive, on 08/01/2009, the youth complained about the inadequacy of youth representation and participation. They demanded increased participation and representation of the youth in the main party structures and the election of the Orange Young Democrats, the youth wing of the coalition, the election of branch chairpersons and two secretaries for youth affairs in the NEC.
The same letter identified the youth as groups non-employed, skilled and non-skilled, students, young entrepreneurs, employed youth and ordinary youth out of employment. Among the activities the youth in ODM are doing; they have held forums, civic education, created linkages, platforms for capacity building and talent development, and deliberate processes to identify and develop political leadership. Ms. Mangéni identified lack of goodwill, political patronage, non-youth friendly nomination rules as well as ethnicity. She further said that Kenyan politics is dominated by very rich people who are capable of sustaining tribal networks.
Ms. Mangéni also noted that political parties tend to be fragmented and only coalesce during elections. Coalition partners are mainly interested in gaining political power with the massive support from the youth. She further pointed out that there is need to have an autonomous youth wing with an equipped office and qualified personnel. Such an office would empower the youth by assigning and implementing suitable programmes.
Contact Susan Mangéni
T: +254 722 847 100
Venue:Centre for Multiparty Democracy.