Last week, I engaged a friend over the upcoming polls, asking how prepared he was for the election.
He was well versed with the election matters despite this being his first time to vote.
He is a registered voter in Kisumu, but now lives in Nairobi where he got some casual job.
Who will pay my fare to go and vote, and back?Youthful voter
So when I inquired when he is traveling to Kisumu, he hesitated, then murmured that he was planning to travel a two days to the polls.
But quickly changed his mind, saying he had no bus fare to get him to Kisumu and back to Nairobi.
“Who will pay my fare to go and vote, and back?” he posed.
This response got me thinking how many more of such cases may be existing.
I then got to reach out to a few more youths.
There is this one who comes from South Nyanza, but had herself listed as a voter in Western while in campus.
When I inquired how she was prepared for the polls, she mentioned that she had no fare to travel from Migori to Bungoma to cast her votes.
Lack of motivation
Then there is this relative who registered somewhere in Kakamega, but is now living in Kisumu.
For her it was not the fare, but she claims she lacks the motivation to travel all the way to Kakamega, queue in the sun for hours to cast her vote.
My efforts to convince her to spend the night of the eve of election in Kakamega, vote and return to Kisumu bore no fruits.
But there is this one, a high school teacher who first voted in 2017.
For her, the response was; “I do not think my vote will make a difference. In 2017, I spent hours queuing, but my vote never made a difference.”
That is different from the case of this distant relative who got the polling jobs with IEBC in a different location from where he is registered.
He comes from Kisumu, but got the job in Siaya County.
“It will be impossible to leave the job just because of voting which has no direct return to me,” he said.
But this was a bit different with a number of family people that I have managed to speak to.
When I spoke to one friend who lives in Nairobi, but listed as a voter in Homa Bay, he was on his way home with his entire family.
“I cannot miss this opportunity,” he said, confirming that he was actually in a bus headed home.
I got a bit agitated, just thinking aloud how many youth votes may be lost.
It is not all lost, and someone may come up with a way of motivating these youths to understand the importance of voting, or even help those stuck in other regions access their polling stations.
In the meantime, let’s watch the voter turnout among the youths.