The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) has urged the youth in all parts of the country to shun drug use during the election period and maintain clean sober minds.
Speaking during the event dubbed “Sauti Yetu” at the University of Nairobi (UON), NACADA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Victor Okioma stated that young people make up a large part of Kenya’s population and it is important that they remain sober and avoid being used by politicians during the election period.
“The youth should play the role of peace ambassadors who are vigilant and will look out for those politicians who attempt to influence them negatively through drugs or money handouts,” said the CEO.
Okioma revealed that NACADA has gone around the country and recruited around 5,000 youth representatives in over ten counties who will work closely with the organisation during the elections to positively engage the youth in their areas.
“The youth are the most vibrant demographic in our country and we hope to utilise their strength and vibrancy for the benefit and goodness of the country,” he added.
“Every member of the youth needs to ask themselves what they are doing before and during elections to contribute to an environment of free, fair and credible election,” Okioma reiterated.
At the same time, Nairobi County Commissioner Flora Mworoa stated that the youth should listen and engage with the politicians as long as they don’t get carried away or incited to criminal activities.
“Cast your vote and head home to wait for the results,” said Mworoa. “Let your new slogan be uchaguzi bila drugs na noma,” she added.
Meanwhile, Mathare Youth Representative Mary Wairimu implored the government and NACADA to increase their efforts in reducing drug use in informal areas.
“Drugs are way more prevalent in places like Mathare and I can personally attest to drug use being a cause of rowdy and unruly behavior,” she disclosed.
In his remarks, Starehe Sub-County Youth Representative James Munene said that politicians will sometimes exploit the youth because of their poverty and unemployment status.
“A politician will ask you to do his bidding and offer money in exchange, however, in the end we have to make wise decisions because it is our responsibility to build and protect this country,” said Munene.
By Mike Mulinge and Stanslaus Mbithi