The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) have called on the youth to be sober and avoid being misused by politicians during the electioneering period.
Addressing more than 500 youth leaders at Pwani University in Kilifi County during a Youth Forum on Peaceful Elections free from Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the anti-alcohol and drug abuse agency said the youth had a key role in ensuring peaceful elections.
The authority’s officials urged the youth to avoid alcohol and drugs and instead preach peace during the elections as well as shun politicians who would incite them to violence after offering them alcohol and drugs to cause chaos.
NACADA Chairperson Prof. Mabel Imbuga and the authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Victor Okioma at the same time urged politicians to desist from misusing the youth for selfish political ambitions.
Prof. Imbuga urged the youth to make sure that Kenya is peaceful before, during and after the August 9, 2022 General Election by preaching peace in their neighbourhoods and places of work.
“Make sure that our country is peaceful because this is home and we have nowhere else to go,” Prof. Imbuga implored adding, “Your neighbour is your friend, whoever you are working with is your friend. Anyone can work anywhere in Kenya.”
Mr. Okioma said the agency had visited eight counties considered as hotspots during elections with a view to urge youth leaders to support NACADA in keeping peace during the campaigns and elections.
“Our main agenda is to tell them that Kenyans have a right to participate in elections and that the youths should not be used by politicians to undermine that right,” he told journalists during the forum.
Mr. George Karisa, NACADA’s Coast Regional Coordinator, proposed that bars and other alcohol-selling outlets be closed on the eve of the elections to enable Kenyans to participate in the polls.
Alternatively, Mr. Karisa urged the alcohol licencing authorities and security agent across the country to ensure that all alcohol dealers adhere to laid down laws and regulations concerning the times when they are supposed to open and close business.
Kilifi North Deputy County Commissioner Geoffrey Tanui, who represented County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka, warned leaders against using the youth to fan chaos, adding that the law would be applied ruthlessly against such leaders.
Ms Sylvia Samba, a youth leader from Kilifi North Sub County, called for a complete ban on the sale of alcohol on the eve of the elections to avoid chaos during the elections.