How I stopped wanting out and learned to love Kenya

I was among the youth fed up with corruption, despair until protests revived belief

In Summary

• As Gen Zs, we are rebels with a cause, and the protests rallied us against all odds

A police officer runs after youth protesting against Finance Bill, 2024 in Nairobi on June 20
A police officer runs after youth protesting against Finance Bill, 2024 in Nairobi on June 20
Image: FILE

[Nairobi, June 20] I’ve always wanted to leave. Leave this country. The oppression, the hopelessness, the gluttonous corruption... But all that changed yesterday.

Fuelled by the fire, by my youth of wanting more, of wanting better. Fighting for what older generations wouldn’t. They lived in the shadows, in the fear of the Nyayo era.

But that’s not us, sisi ni watoto wa Kibaki. Nabii and his empty threats don’t nerve us; heck, we’ve rebelled against our strict parents. Fearlessness is something embedded and that’s what I, we, took to the streets.

As I walked through the streets of Moi Avenue on that Thursday morning, tear gas engulfed the air. I sneezed all the way until I reached Kimathi Street, where I was to meet my friends.

Protesters emerged from every corner, carrying banners, masks and bandanas for their noses, and some had protective eyewear. It was funny seeing people applying toothpaste below their eyes in hope that it would neutralise the acidity of the teargas, a belief that we later found to be a hoax as alternates like baking soda and vinegar proved to be better.

Fearlessly, we matched just like how in Westeros, house Stark would have their battalions go to war just to settle the feud with house Lannister so as to avenge their fallen Lord Eddard Stark.

House Lannister in this case was the impunity of the Finance Bill, and the Mpigs, oh sorry, the MPs, who voted yes to the Finance Bill. Who allegedly were paid Sh2 million each to be in bed with the unrelenting transgressions of crippling the economy as their accounts fatten.

“Gotha tena!” The crowds went wild upon a teargas canister being launched at us. It was the irritation as we inhaled it that reminded us of what the government is like and what it does to its citizens, oppress. We cried our eyes out, we coughed our lungs out, but we continued marching forward, to Parliament. “Tuko wengi, Ruto must go.” As a side note, the teargas was nasty.

Around GPO, the water cannons were launched, we hurled and shielded ourselves at the corners of buildings as pink water covered our bodies at intense pressure. Anyway, we asked, “Si wangeleta hata ya blue tukuwe na gender reveal basi?” The fear truly is gone.

Never have I ever been so proud of my generation. Never have I ever been a proud Kenyan. And never have I ever wanted to fight for my country and our rights.

Kwa kweli, vijana tumeamka, ipo siku mayouth wataungana, na hiyo siku ilifika. History was indeed written on that day. And on 25th June, we rise once again as we continue to #RejectFinanceBill2024. And honour the life of one of us, Rex Kanyike Masai, who died in the cruel hands of the law. Unarmed with only his ID and phone in his possession.

And lastly, why are innocent Kenyans being abducted?

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