It’s time Kenyan youth held political leaders accountable on governance

Young people’s engagement with clear roles at both national and local levels should form the foundation of continuum of accountability.

For this engagement and participation to be meaningful and strengthen accountability, it should be premised on the principles of inclusivity, accessibility, collaboration and responsiveness.

It has been argued from different quarters that the attitude of entitlement without responsibility has contributed to apathy among young people.


Kenyan youth should be encouraged to become proactive in ensuring good governance practices and use their creativity to ensure that they find their rightful space in policy and decision making.

Failure to do this will mean that they have accepted to continually be marginalised.

Accountability is critical in ensuring that political leaders and all duty bearers honour their commitments and shows how different programme actions and investment of public funds translate into tangible results and long-term outcomes that directly benefit young people.

Accountability mechanisms should allow for grievances to be voiced and remedies provided and, as a responsive function, should help to improve how policy or service delivery can be adjusted to make it more effective.

Efforts should be made to build capacity for young people to claim their rights and engage as active citizens.

An effective accountability mechanism is one that has the ability to transparently show the linkages between national and local levels with strong feedback information loops.

This accurate and timely information has the potential to help in supporting national and local recommendations, actions and approaches aimed at reaching the goals that support young people meet their aspirations and live a prosperous life.

Working with young people, especially in complex processes like planning, budgeting and monitoring, is crucial if development policies are to be truly relevant to those they are meant to serve.

Sometimes participation and collaboration becomes difficult when review processes are complex and hard to interpret.

Young people should demand leaders to provide information in a format that is interactive and language that they can understand.

An environment in which feedback is shared should also be considered.


If possible it should be easy to access without necessarily incurring costs.

Political leaders can only be said to be accountable if they listen and respond to the needs of young people in a clear manner, explain action taken to rectify whatever recommendations made and a guarantee that it will not be repeated.

This can be through actions like legislative reforms, innovative planning processes and prioritised funds allocation.

In conclusion, non-discriminative feedback mechanisms and effective follow-up processes is a means of verifying that an effective accountability mechanism is in place.

The Constitution of Kenya has already defined duties, responsibilities and rights, so what is critical is to create strong linkage and integration both at national and local levels because decisions are made through a network of actors.

The litmus test that Kenyan youth should use is whether political leaders have put accountability mechanisms and pathways in place that are inclusive, accessible, collaborative and responsive clearly showing how they will be structured and work in practice.

Dr Kiambati is a management consultant and a senior lecturer at Karatina University. [email protected];

Dr Kariuki is a social scientist, management consultant and a lecturer at Karatina University. [email protected]

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