A call to Gen X. A call to “Muindis”!

Last week the nation’s young people decided it was time to take action against the growing greed of an increasingly corrupt government. Kenyan citizens were stunned at the sheer numbers of young people who turned up on the streets of Nairobi to #RejectFinanceBill and show their outrage and contempt at the government.

I was one of those citizens who watched. A Gen X, who from the comfort of my own home, applauded the Gen Z and millennials protesting, as if it was their fight. But this is not their fight alone. This is the fight of every Kenyan citizen who is being affected by the sheer audacity of a government who are in power to help themselves and not the country. This is our fight too.

Now, not everyone can go out and protest. This I completely accept. And it is important that we do not make anyone feel ashamed if they don’t. People who are elderly or ill, have dependents and are worried about them – many parents with young children do not feel that they want to go out and protest – or those who are working and can’t miss work. Then, there are those who don’t believe that protesting is the right way. And that’s all ok. You do not have to protest if you don’t want to. But there are other ways to show your support.

Much as I am not a huge fan of couch activism, and mindlessly re-posting posts, I do feel that social media has a place in this movement. It helps inform and motivate others about what is going on. But, if you are going to re-post, do be intentional about it. Don’t just re-post everything. The questions to ask are “Why am I reposting? What is this post achieving?” And then, what else can you do besides re-posting? Can you share your thoughts on stories and platforms such as LinkedIn? Can you use your platform in the media? Can you lobby your company to give time off to their staff to go and protest should they want to? Can you donate to the cause? Can you use your contacts to speak to people in government? What more can you do?

And finally, as a Kenyan Indian, I feel particularly passionate about talking about this. Where are we being represented? We say we are the 44th tribe, the Muindis, born and brought up here in Kenya. Why are we not on the streets marching in protest too? Or lobbying our employers? Or giving our employees time off to go protest if they want to? Is Kenya not our country too? Are these not our problems too? Should we not hold this government accountable too? There are many of our forefathers who fought for independence for Kenya. Like them, it is now time we stand up and be counted.

As a proud Muindi, and an ageing Gen X, and a citizen of Kenya, I will be marching on the streets of Nairobi tomorrow to #RejectFinanceBill. I want to be counted. The question is, will you be counted too?