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Youth Political Mobilization in Tharaka-North during the Colonial Period between 1895 and 1963

Abstract: Kenyan youth have been a key constituency for political mobilization since the country's independence. Politicians across the country have in most cases co-opted the youth in electoral competitions to either retain or wrestle power from opponents. Despite their numerical strength, importance and historical relevance little attempt has been made to analyze youth political mobilization during colonial period in Tharaka-North sub-County, between 1895 and 1963 hence forming the purpose of the study. The objective that guided the study was to analyze youth political mobilization during colonial period in Tharaka-North sub-County, between 1895 and 1963. This study took the form of an exploratory research design. The study employed both primary and secondary data to accomplish its goal. The respondents for the field interviews were selected using stratified random and purposive sampling approaches. Stratified random sampling was used to select 90 respondents who comprised of ordinary youth residing in Tharaka North-Sub-County. This was backed up by purposive sampling technique which was used to select 10 lead respondents mostly youth leaders and elders. Research instruments used included interview schedules with open ended questions. Qualitative methods of data analysis and interpretation were used. Anchored on the theory of patron-client relationship this study argued that the political class take advantage of the desperate situation of the youth to promise goodies if propelled to positions of power. The findings of this study shows the youth in Tharaka were socialized to believe that leadership positions were reserved for the old and senior males because The patriarchal structure of Tharaka society acted as a barrier to the ascendancy of young men to positions of leadership. As a consequence of this, youth political mobilization was low. It recommended that Civic education should be geared towards making political awareness to young people and that the government should put in place strategies that will improve youth participation in the political process.

Key words: Youth, Politic, Political mobilization, Political participation/engagement, Political systems


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