A Message From Eddy

H istorically youth political leadership has largely been discounted. However, nothing in today’s Kenya could be of greater significance. From biblical Joseph and David to Alexander the Great to today’s Malala, the experience question is often introduced to temper the ambitions and passions of young, aspiring leaders. But in fact the stories of these young leaders demonstrate that what truly matters is not age but clarity of purpose, a holistic sense of society and an understanding of disparate cultural and personal experiences. These are the hallmarks of impactful leadership.

I have traversed many villages and visited many homes in Migori. I still do so. I have continually learned of families forced to do more with close to nothing. When I was younger, this is what I saw in my family as well. Like many struggling Migori families, we had aspirations for a good life, for happiness, and for success. As a young boy however, I thought of my family as conceivably among the most disadvantaged lots in Kenya. This was a reflection of my narrow exposure, restricted to my little village in Migori. Many times that limited perspective had me thinking that other families in the county had much more, and led much better lives. As I grew older, struggled in the backstreets and benefited from the kindness of foster families in Migori, I realized there were quite a number of families just like mine. I have seen most of the problems I have lived reflected in many girls and boys who look just like me in Migori.

“I have traversed many villages and visited many homes in Migori. I still do so. I have continually learned of families forced to do more with close to nothing. When I was younger, I saw this in my family as well. Like many struggling Migori families, we had aspirations for a good life, for happiness, and for success.”

My story is a story of many young people in Migori, with only one profound difference; many generous people have given me the opportunities and tools to succeed. My responsibility is now to give back to others in our community. The government, with fresh leaders and new ideas, can play a significant equalizing role. In the past this has not been the case. Instead,  the public sector has served as an egocentric enterprise for politicians, where they rise to quick wealth at the expense of our community. This reinforces artificial poverty among our people. While I have had opportunities to acquire the best education and could choose  to work across the world in order to build materially a better life for myself, watching the structural poverty in Migori calls instead for me to choose a life of public service. My mother always taught me that our obligations to help others are our highest calling. The talents and potential I see in Migori’s youth and women are a constant reminder of why those obligations to our larger society matter. The choice of public service is a leap of faith in our community, a profoundly held belief that the ultimate calling  is a duty to our people.

“[The] public sector has served as an egocentric enterprise for politicians, where they rise to quick wealth at the expense of our community. This reinforces artificial poverty among our people.”

My peers dismiss politics because historically it has been marred by unimaginable scandals and pervasive corruption. I see politics as a potential instrument for positive change, and I commit myself to making this change happen.  Together we can heal Migori, and set our nation on a path of commitment to the values we share, away from greed and patrimonial leadership. I recognize and appreciate that my choice may be a lonely one for a young man of my background. What I hope for as I and my team move forward, is  candid guidance, generosity of spirit,  material support, honesty, and trust. In turn, we will remain committed to engaging the people in order to provide a  new model for ethical Kenyan public service.

Together we can work with and for the people of Migori.

eddy-signature
Eddy Oketch

Together we can heal Migori, and set our nation on a path of commitment to the values we share, away from greed and patrimonial leadership.

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