With constant reports of widespread suffocation of rights and freedoms in political parties in Kenya, a number of youths with political ambitions are currently giving such organizations a wide berth.
Among them is human rights activist Okoth Opondo who was cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to run in the Kibra by-election as an Independent Candidate.
Okoth Opondo when he was cleared by IEBC to run for Kibra by-elections set for November 7: Photo courtesy
The University of Nairobi student believes that if he would have aligned himself with a political party, his name would have failed to make it to the ballot despite him having the knowledge of what is ailing Kibra people and the wisdom of fixing such.
“Political parties in the country have a tendency of bringing down youths and women. I wanted an assurance that I would be on the ballot, the only way was going independent,’’ he says.
Mr Opondo adds, “Political parties in this country are not different as ideologies are just a copy and paste game.”
His manifesto revolves around education for all, business and employment opportunities, art and talent development and health.
Bold, sassy, audacious and outgoing, we can say. His full name is Abraham Okoth Opondo.
The 26-year-old is the founder of Campde Voices, which is the brain behind Debater’s society. The association brings together youths, especially high school students who discuss issues affecting them and consequently offering solutions.
Also, he is the current secretary general of the University and college students of Kibra.
Until joining politics, the Maranda school come Parklands High school alumni has been the leader of Young Debaters Movement in Kenya.
Opondo says he is proud of his humble upbringing, a matter that kept him moving in such for a better life. He thus, like many others, settled in the slums of Kibra.
Asked whether Kibra needs another Ken Okoth as the area legislator, he says: “I don’t think we want another Ken Okoth, Ken did his part. We want someone who will do better than Ken.”
My opondo during a campaign meeting in Kibra
Now with no backing of a political party, like is the case of some of his competitors, the young man is armed with a campaign maxim of Ni sisi wenyewe (It is us, ourselves), plus an Ubuntu wisdom.
“I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours,” reads his school of thought.
Mr Opondo believes that he shall get an opportunity to serve his people after November 7, 2019 when the IEBC has set the by-election on.