Determinants of Voting Behavior among the Youth in Kajiado County, Kenya
Voting behavior has been a factor of interest in political science studies. With the youth making the largest percentage of the population and registered voters in Kenya and the world, they still remain underrepresented in leadership spheres and their participation in governance is minimal. This study sought to understand their voting behavior considering how cultural factors, ethnicity, intergenerational factors, political ideologies and legal literacy determined voting behavior of the youth in Kajiado County, Kenya. Kajiado county has a demography with a high population of youth and is inhabited by various ethnic communities. The study considered how eligible youth voters decided on their choices on various aspects in the county. The study identified the extent of the influence the determinants had on voting behavior among the youth in Kajiado county. The researcher purposefully sampled Kajiado county by targeting the youth in Universities and Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Institutions in the County. The research sampled one hundred (100) youth registered as voters in Kajiado county. A Questionnaire was used to collect quantitative and qualitative data by including closed and open-ended questions. The quantitative data collected was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) while the qualitative data was analyzed using thematic analysis. The findings were presented in form of tables, percentages and bar charts. The researcher adhered to ethical provisions of the study and ensured the respondents were aware of their rights and that the data collected was only used for the study. The findings revealed that the youth in Kajiado county were to an extent influenced by culture in their voting patterns. The patriarchal nature of the communities in the county determined voting behavior in that mostly men were voted in. The level of literacy influenced voting behavior whereby, those in leadership and literate had a great influence on the choices made by the less literate. It also emerged that the youth would like a generational change in leadership with preference for young leaders. They however did not trust the electoral process and management. On the basis of these findings, the research recommended increased dialogue and leadership training programs for the youth. In addition, favorable terms for party membership entry and participation for youth including, transparent and inclusive nomination principles. Efforts to reclaim credibility of the electoral system and process should be made by the government and IEBC through proper implementation of laws and civic education. Facilitation of inter-cultural interaction, festivals and inter-marriage to counter negative ethnicity.