Youth protest against Finance Bill 2024 on a street in Nairobi. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The protesting youths now happy to be referred to as Gen Z are today set to make good their threat to “occupy Parliament” on a day the Finance Bill 2024 comes before the house for amendments.

According to parliamentary processes, this is a step where MPs run through the Bill clause by clause proposing amendments in what is known in parliamentary lingua as committee of the whole house.

The Bill, which passed the second reading last week after 204 members voted in favour while 115 opposed, will then move to the third reading stage where the speaker of the house will put a question and the house shall vote on it, including the new amendments.

The Gen Z protesters, who took to the streets last week, announced their continued efforts in a statement dubbed Seven Days of Rage. Organisers expect a significant turnout, highlighting the increasing political engagement and activism of the young generation.

In posters circulating online, the Gen Zs have urged everyone to join them today, framing the protest as a stand for all hard-working Kenyans. They are promising a peaceful demonstration.

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One activist, known as H.E. Rachael Tabitha on social media, told The Standard on phone on Monday that today’s activities are intended to send a clear message to President William Ruto that the electorate is supreme over Parliament.

“The activities of tomorrow are guided by the hashtag #TotalShutDownKenya, with a clear communication to the president that the will of the people is supreme over Parliament’s,” Tabitha said.

“The reality is, what Gen Z is fighting is not just the Finance Bill. It is an accumulation of various issues, including unfulfilled election promises to improve the living standards of the hustler. This administration might end up being the most unpopular regime ever elected,” she added.

She said Gen Z has professionals who understand the power of digital intelligence, unlike the country’s current leadership. She denounced anyone claiming to be their leader, asserting that they will not allow anyone to take advantage of them.

“The Gen Z have outrightly denounced anyone who wishes to be their leader or take advantage of them. This is a radical movement, gradually turning into a revolution that will be recorded as a first of its kind in this country,” she added.

The protests have received backing from various online content creators, many of whom have expressed their support on social media, especially on the X app, urging people to join the demonstrations. One influencer urged protest attendees to carry Kenyan flags, suggesting that police cannot teargas or use water cannons on those holding the flag.

“Make sure you have a Kenyan flag tomorrow. The police cannot teargas or use water cannons on you if you are holding a Kenyan flag,” one influencer wrote on X.

The demonstrations are organised through volunteers providing medical services, water, and snacks to protesters. Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni yesterday said the party supports the Gen Zs. He offered them party headquarters as a medical camp during the protests.

The Gen Z protesters yesterday made good their promise to rally outside MPs constituency offices. They targeted MPs who voted in favour of the controversial legislation.

In Nyali, anti-Finance Bill protesters stormed the office of their MP, Mohamed Ali, expressing dissatisfaction with his alleged failure to declare a stand on the Finance Bill 2024.

In Wangige, Kikuyu, a wave of protestors flooded the streets targeting area MP Kimani Ichung’wa who is also leader of majority at the National Assembly.  Their high-pitched chants resonating through the air as they marched toward the MPs’ offices.