There was this restaurant in Nairobi being run by a man in his fifties. He had been operating it for over 20 years and KNEW all the right things to do. Only that business gradually went downhill over the years. Finally, with the debts mounting he decided to call in a business consultant with the intention of selling off the restaurant for the best price possible.
It did not take long for the “young” executive from a well know accounting firm in Nairobi to figure out what the problem was.
Then Senator Barack Obama addressing a crowd of mostly young Kenyans
What had happened over the years is that the owner grew older and lost touch with his target clientele. He was busy doing things that would attract people his own age into his restaurant, sadly most of those guys are in semi-retirement and few of those still in Nairobi would go into a fast food joint in a prime location in the CBD.
The restaurant owner hated young folks. He did not like the way they dressed, they played their music too loudly and talked too loudly. He really hated their morals and their guts. And it showed in his restaurant. But sadly those were the guys he was supposed to be targeting.
This is the reason why many corporate companies these days change their marketing department teams pretty frequently never allowing them to grow too old. The result is that they easily stay in touch with their target market.
The way Kenyan politicians are behaving at the moment reminds me of that short-sighted restaurant owner, running a fast food joint for pensioners. It is business as usual for many of our politicians and they are busy playing the usual game of tribal arithmetic.
Today the Sunday Nation published a fascinating article based on the recently released Census figures that reveals that there will be an additional almost 6 million young people who will be eligible to vote for the first time in 2012. That is in addition to the high number of youngsters who unanimously gave a nod to the proposed constitution in the August referendum. According to my contacts on the ground older people voted against the draft constitution for various reasons and what made the difference is the huge percentage of young voters. Now picture the impact considering that another 6 million youngsters will be eligible to register as voters by 2012. And judging by the increased awareness amongst the young about how critical politics is to their daily lives, chances are that a sizeable percentage of these youngsters will register as voters.
Many politicians and even readers of this blog KNOW that Kenyans ALWAYS vote along tribal lines. They KNOW that the way to win a presidential election is to organize some powerful tribal alliances. They KNOW that elections in Kenya have never been issue-based. Well, they will know a little different in 2012.
Incidentally targeting the young is NOT giving exciting speeches and telling jokes that young folks can identify with.
Issues are very important for the brand new young voters of Kenya who will decide the next occupant of State house. Corruption is something else that has been brought to the forefront in recent times. Good looks too are important. And then these guys easily get bored and so very few presidential candidates if any will be able to successfully make long speeches and still hold the attention of their audiences. And as the Matuga constituency by-election a few months ago clearly illustrated the young people of Kenya are pretty unpredictable and can easily change their minds at the very last minute.
Revisiting long boring speeches, if you are Kalonzo Musyoka you will bore your audience who are already upset with your water melon ways and then blame your political rival for taking the trouble to organize a jeering crowd just for you from Kibera. The point is that such politicians stuck in their old ways of doing things will find it extremely tough going in 2012.
By the way the restaurant I started this post with was saved and retains the same owner to this day, only that he has employed some young mangers and listens to their suggestions. He hates young people less these days. Or shall we say that he is a lot more tolerant?
Breakthrough For Young Kenyan Presidential Candidate: Winds Of Change Blowing From Congo
Kenya youth are not idiots