Gen-Z infected with spirit of hope, and it is proving to be contagious

Demonstrators match along the streets of Nakuru City to protest controversial Finance Bill 2024 on June 20,2024. [Kipsang Joseph,Standard]

Something intense is happening in this country, and the youth are its couriers. Kenyan Gen-Z and Millennials were just playing dead. Then suddenly, with lightning speed, they sprang to life, coiling around their prey with deadly precision!

Paralysis is certain. The aftershocks confirm it. The anti-venom is unknown. With no ready antidote, the ‘reject’ phenomenon is spreading in a way that cannot be ignored.

Old-style political mockery pronounced in political rallies is doing little to diminish the youth stamina. The generation does not attend or listen to political rallies anyway!

When renown politicians speak lowly of the youth action, they realise that most of the citizens support the youth protests. Citizens have benefited greatly from the youth awakening because it has sowed hope!

Millions have been moved to tears as they see their children do what they have wanted to do but are afraid.

This is not just a political narrative–it is a prophetic stance. Where did young people get all this courage if not from God? How did they achieve such synergy without the aid of the Spirit? How are they continually driven if not by a force beyond themselves?

How have they become so united if not brought together by a higher force? This is not a blind phenomenon–it is not a ‘big bang’ accident. It is a force rooted in nature’s calendar–a day marked for change, with all earth’s elements called to duty to deliver this moment. Fighting it is folly.

One thing is clear–the target. The target is not simply the incumbent government but the agents of ill whose greed sponsors widespread poverty and suffering. They do not want minor edits to what is wrong; they want a full rejection of wicked and ineffective legislators.

This is not to say the youth are perfect–far from it! But they do know that there are natural imperfections and artificial ones. The artificial ones are systems jammed with ‘majambazi’ (thugs).

Political insensitivity

This movement cannot be narrowed to a student protest. They are not protesting against raised fees–it is way wider than that. It is a youth-led protest against a country’s political insensitivity.

The doctors and the junior secondary school teachers are young and they too came out powerfully. The present wave of force is an inclusion of the larger youth constituency.

Young people have all come together, not to rise against individual items in the system, but the whole system. This last week has demonstrated they are a real power. 

What the young people have done is refuse to package their voice and put it up for sale. They are inspiring many to dissociate from the club of paying lip service and hurriedly look for a place in the ‘feet club’ where action is the currency.

They have provoked those who suspended their conscience to wake up and locate where they lost it. This is a time to make a stand–a conscience-based stand is superior to a party stand.

Worldwide, it takes a lot to vote against the party line, but that does not mean that we take the party line as ultimate. The conscience is a sacred place which must be protected, even from party favours.

They have attacked the fearful with the call, “When we lose our fear, they lose their power.” They have made fear look unsightly, dispensable. They have intimidated fear, and fear has been shaken!

They have demonstrated that anger and peace can make a sensible sentence: “We are not fighting you, we are fighting for you!” the unarmed protestor told the armed police. They screamed and shouted, but peace was left intact.

The chants “We are peaceful!” are tear-jerking. The young people want to make their point passionately yet peacefully. When one of them was released from police cells, she displayed the laudable spirit of a captain who refuses to leave a sinking ship by refusing to be rescued alone.

When the older generation says, “This tribe has led us for too long,” the youth are saying, “This generation has led us for too long.” In the former, tribe is everything. In the latter, tribe is irrelevant.

The younger generation—the millions who were of age but are said not to have voted in the General Election—is finally ‘voting’.

This is not just about young people; it is about a new thing. When they say ‘reject’ not ‘amend’, they mean more than the Bill–it is about the whole national leadership system.

Their inspirers are known. According to some of the youth demanding Kenya’s shape-up, their inspiration is coming from the Mau Mau! Clearly, they know more than just the mall, and the writing is on the wall.

Their organisers are undeclared and unknown. But this is not about a sponsor–it is about a spirit that is blowing wherever it wills. Many people have caught it. It is much more than being in the streets–it is a street mind, a protest mind, a fearless mind.

Big brother

The ‘young’ MPs inside the chambers are big brothers to the Gen Zs in the streets. Their mind is from another time, and even their language is disconnected.

They have enjoyed the age capital and some of them now feel threatened by this age ‘coup’ and are speaking against the very young people they claim to represent! The youth in the streets are of an age comparable to the grandchildren of many political leaders.

This is a youth-led moment. It should not be hijacked by the big brothers or the father and grandfathers. This is new wine–old ‘wineskins’ must unlearn and relearn before they can join.

The older generation must accept the teenage teacher; it is the only way to cross the bridge! Institutions–including the church–and their leaders must be humble enough to stretch out their hands for the youth to lead them and lower their ears for the youth to teach them. The song of freedom must go on, and when ‘people’ fail, ‘stones’ rise!

It is in this same week that Kenya’s Junior Starlets defied so many odds and made history by qualifying for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup! Clearly glory isn’t only through the older. It strides through the teenagers’ door too!

It was indeed a triumphal youth week–a win on the pitch and a win in the streets. Team spirit fuels the engine. A country proud of division should forget the trophies.

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