Thursday, July 25, 2024

Gen Z protests peel off government’s mask to reveal modern-day Moi, YK92

On the evening of Thursday, June 19, 2024 along Moi Avenue in Nairobi, a police officer drew his gun and fired a live bullet at a Kenyan youth.

The youth was rushed to the nearby Bliss Medical Centre by fellow young people who were protesting against President William Ruto, his Kenya Kwanza government, and their punitive Finance Bill 2024. He was pronounced dead.

This was the first death in the protests that are being organized by Gen Zs in Kenya. Although the Gen Z protests were held in many different parts of the country, it is notable that it’s only in Nairobi where police officers under the leadership of Adamson Bungei decided to become violent against unarmed boys and girls, some young enough to be their own children.

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To these police officers, it was a crime for the Gen Zs to chant against President Ruto’s oppressive taxation.

For a long time, this young generation has been accused of having a fetish for the soft life. It has been accused and called names for being totally detached from the economic realities that are strangling Kenya.

One of the most popular theories that has been advanced on why the Gen Z was perceived to be so detached is that they were never there to witness the struggle for multi-party democracy and freedom of expression and association against the tyrannical rule of former late president Daniel Arap Moi in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


As a result of this, they didn’t know what a dictatorship looks like; they couldn’t tell bad governance clothed in religiosity, lies and fake promises apart. But alas! The Gen Zs are not as naïve as they have been assumed to be!

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And when they took to the streets over the past few days, they proved that they have the mettle to stand against misrule and outright dictatorship. And just like their parents once confronted the ghosts of Moi brutality, the Gen Zs protesting in Nairobi have now come face to face with what can only be described as the reincarnation of Moi 2.0… if not the YK92!


Talk about police brutality, endless tear gas blasts, guns and bullets! In fact, according to the Amnesty International and its partners, over 200 young people have been injured in Nairobi alone. The police have been using live bullets on these kids as evidenced by spent cartridges.

For many years, maandamano in Kenya have been seen as a Raila Odinga and the Luo community affair. It has been easy to politicize them, to infiltrate them, and to blame them for causing instability. Not anymore.

Unlike these types of ordinary maandamano that the government has become used to, the Gen Z protests have no politician behind them. They are organized on social media and broadcast on social media platforms such as Tik Tok, X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook where these young people dominate.

These are young educated people without jobs; young people whom politicians have fed hot air day in day out with fake promises of jobs locally and abroad. These are young people who have been pushed to the very edge.

Perhaps the killing of one of their own by the police was coming. It is a script that has become common; kill one or a few to instill fear!

But this begs the big question: how can a “leader” who has kids in the same age bracket as the protesting Gen Zs carry on as if all is normal when he knows very well that police officers under his authority are running mad in the streets, chasing after kids, shooting some dead, and splashing others with tear gas?

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