He has been described as the Carl Max, soft spoken yet so powerful! Varcity interviewed the youth leader Kane Lukoye as he walks us through his journey from SONU to national politics.
- Who is Lukoye and what do you do?
I’m Kane “Maina” Lukoye born over 25 years ago in Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. A single mother, Ruth Nyambura, in the historically rich neighborhoods- Ziwani and Jericho County Estates, raised me.
- What is YPM and where does the name come from?
Youth+Power Movement is a social initiative by the youths and for the youths.
YPM was founded by strong willed youths who are tired of the notorious trend of being used, misused, abused and re-used by manipulative old folks who have mastered the systems for their own benefits and maintaining status quo.
The movement is aimed to empower youths and change their mindsets from the traditional ways to new ways(#NewDirections) through reality and positive messages to enhance a more sustainable progressive attitude towards their day to day lives.
- Is this in line with what you studied for or is your ultimate passion?
Since my inception into this world, I have been a voice of the voiceless, the oppressed and the suppressed in our society. I chose to be different in my way of thinking and doing things- I was and still am more of the rebel in my family. In another life or world, probably in the times of Che Guevara I would have been an armed revolutionist. But times are different and thanks to education, I was able to study Journalism & Mass Communication majoring in Development Communication at the University of Nairobi; a specialty that has empowered me in a big way, enabling me play active part in advocacy, activism and leadership matters. It has given me the necessary tools to advocate for social and governance issues without physically hurting anyone or break the law if the land in any way.
I must admit that it has gotten me in trouble with authorities many times. As humans accepting the truth is quite difficult, so when you speak the truth as it is in one way or another you will brush someone the wrong way
- You have a massive fan base in terms of Facebook followers, would you say your presence is felt the same at the ground level?
We are living in the information age where social media has become a communication tool. And Facebook as one of the earliest platforms holds an advantage over all the other social platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp and Telegram. It offers a bigger space for expressing oneself, if used responsibly it can be very effective in connecting with your audience. I hold a large following in Facebook than any other social platform because I am able to connect with them.
We relate well on Facebook I believe it’s because I am as real as it gets, so yes my presence resonates well on ground too.
- Any major breakthroughs with your initiative/s?
I have experienced numerous breakthroughs in all the initiatives that I have played part. As long as the message reaches my audience at the right time that is a success in itself. The ultimate purpose is to get the message out there to spark necessary reactions-conversations from the public. Like Obama says, “We can make a difference; it only starts with a small conversation.”
Until it’s registration Youth+Power Movement was only virtual but now we have the legality to operate on ground, so very soon people will start seeing and take part in our community based initiatives. The timing wouldn’t be more perfect now that we are fast approaching another electioneering period.
- What is the one thing that the youth need to know about young power and leadership?
Youths need to realize the POWER that they hold; be it in governance issues, civic matters, and the corporate world. They can literally dictate the type of leadership suitable for everyones’ benefit and growth. As youths we have the numbers, the energy drive, creative minds and most importantly the right and freedom enshrined in the Constitution to be and to chose the leaders we really need.
- Do you intend to grow the YPM, say outside of Nairobi?
As one of the Founders and chairperson of YPM it is my intention and the intention of my colleagues as well as like-minded Kenyans to see the initiative grow far and wide. This is why the movement’s leadership is comprised of Representatives from all the Kenyan regions. I take this opportunity to welcome all youths nationally to register with our group as bona-fide members, help the movement grow for the sake of the next generation. “IF NOT US, THEN WHO WILL?”
- What challenges have you so far faced and if there was someone reading this that would be in a position to liberate those challenges, what is the one thing that you would ask for?
One of our biggest challenges is getting national recognition. Because of the direct link between social issues and matters governance most people see us a political movement while in real sense we are purely social. Another reason could be that our messages and ideas are consistent and liberating. So, go the record YPM is not a political political outfit and is not in any way affiliated to any political party locally or internationally. That is why it is registered as a community based organization.
Another challenge is resource mobilization, especially now that we want to initiate sustainable community projects in tandem with the 17 SDG goals with my fellow youths. In the spirit of youth empowerment we welcome partnership proposals from like-minded organizations and philanthropists…YOUTH+POWER!!
- Any words of wisdom/message to the youths out there who are inspired by your powerful movement?
My humble message to the youths out there: do not be afraid to STAND UP and OUT for what is rightly and justly yours. Let not any form of oppression or suppression shackles you from realizing your realistic dreams. As youths we lack a clear DIRECTION and that is where those ‘above’ us take advantage and manipulate us, puppet us for their own good and our own destruction.
YOUTH +POWER MOVEMENT is here to provide the right direction; to LEAD the way to A powerful, prosperous, sustainable future. As we speak one language- TUJENGANE…#NewDirections!
Thank you so much for your time!