Gen-Z parents back demos, tell Kenya Kwanza to listen to pleas

Kakamega residents led by a section of Kakamega MCAs protest against Finance Bill 2024 in Kakamega town on June 20, 2024. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Parents of the young Kenyans protesting in the streets against the government have expressed admiration and support for their children.

Several parents interviewed said there was nothing wrong with the emboldened Gen Z to express themselves through peaceful demos.

Drawn from various professions, including farmers, church leaders, traders and politicians, the parents only worry about the safety of their emboldened Gen Z children who have become the talk of the town.

The parents affirmed they fully understand their children frustrations which has led to nationwide protests sparked by the Finance Bill 2024.

The energy behind the organised protests have reflected a new era of civic engagement, one driven by the technology-savvy, socially conscious and outspoken Gen Z's.

Their collective voice has proved to be powerful and clear. As of Thursday, the protests had spread across various regions including Kilifi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Kisii, Kakamega, Eldoret, Mombasa and Nanyuki among others.

Joel Kea, a parent of a 21-year- old from Kilifi County said he fully commended the efforts of the youth, in standing up against the Finance Bill 2024.

''I am a very proud father seeing that we raised a generation that can stand up against impunity. This is something that we couldn't do in our time,'' said Kea.

He said that the young people are the real liberators of the country and their actions point to a brighter future where there will be no impunity.

Another parent, Loyce Juma said she supported Gen Z for its bravery and ability to organise the demonstrations against what she termed as a punitive Finance Bill that many leaders did not care about.

''I know we parents might not be able to join in the demonstration but let's support our children in any way we can. You can buy them a bottle of water, because one thing I am sure of is that they are fighting for the betterment of everyone," said Juma

Humphrey Buradi, a parent from Kakamega town said he is impressed with what the young Kenyans are doing. "I support them since they are peaceful and the message has already been driven home," he said.

Philip Wanyonyi Wekesa, a human rights activist from Bungoma town said that Gen -Z are doing the right thing since no politician is behind them but just agitating for their rights.

"Gen Zs are trying to tell the government that is not just about the Finance Bill; it's about the unemployment crisis in the country," said Wekesa.

In Meru County Dr Mbaabu Muguna said the protests are justified. "The youth are fighting for a just course, the government should know this is unstoppable. Unfortunately, the youth will not understand any other language," he said.

He noted coincidentally, all university students are out for long holidays so they can form a formidable team in any town.

Alex Kiambi a parent of two ‘Gen Z’ and a ‘Gen Alpha’ said he was very proud of them.

"They have picked the fight to secure their future after we, their parents, failed them, owing to our inclination to ethnicity which has trapped our thoughts hence informing our voting habits even when common sense dictates differently," he said.

"Furthermore we have raised them tribe-less and I am sure going forward our leaders won't be adjudicated depending on their tribe but qualities," he said.

 Lucy Mukaria, a mother to a Gen Z said they are expressing a sense of hopelessness caused by joblessness and the high cost of living.

"Nobody should think of ignoring them, it is a crisis in waiting. You see, they have mentors like the recent happenings in Sri Lanka where the youths pushed their way to the official Presidential residence and managed to oust him," she said.

She said Gen Z have no earthly possessions to lose, are non-violent only armed with a cell phone and a bottle of water, self-mobilized, with no political affiliation.

In Muranga County, Jane Kamau, said the high cost of living has affected Kenyans majority on the middle-income level making it difficult to pay for basic needs.

She said the youth have ganged up to correct the political hurdles their parents have been unable to question.

Simon Ngunjiri, a legal expert, said the youth are representing the masses and it was time the government moved to address the concerns raised.

John Wachira,  a Mechanic,  said what they are demanding cuts across and affects all of Kenyans, including their parents.

"Let them do what they are doing to its conclusive end. We are a spent force but they have the energy to do it and they have our blessings. They aren't armed or they aren't stealing or looting. Why should the police kill innocent children who are asking for what we have been unable to ask for so long?"Wachira said.

In Uasin Gishu County, a section of parents interviewed told The Standard that they were happy with their children as they were ‘cleaning the mess’ that was created, by facing the politicians and unequivocally speaking their minds.

Benard Too, a parent said unlike the beliefs firmly held by the older generation that the youths are fighting a Bill they know nothing about, the youths are well informed.

“The opposite is true, our generation is the one that knows nothing about the Finance Bill because we are at home trusting every lie the politicians tell us. But the Gen Z are curious, they hold conversations on various social media platforms and know exactly where they want,” stated Too.

By Nathan Ochunge, Marion Kithi, Phares Mutembei, Boniface Gikandi, Sammi Mose and Purity Mwangi, Lynn Kolongei and Martin Ndiema