Kenya’s Cursed Generation – The 90s

The babies born in the nineties! This article is about young people between the ages of 20 and 29.

In March last year, I was part of the stop these thieves march. This was on the backdrop of millions of Kenya shillings stolen from public coffers, an unsustainable public debt and lethargic delivery of public services. Walking into freedom corner, I met a couple of people, most of them way over 35 years of age but there were probably just a handful of 20 – 29 year olds. You who are most affected by these ills, didn’t even care to show up to protest. Your very future is being auctioned in front of you, yet, you still expect your parents to take care of this one, just the same way they take care of every bottleneck you encounter.

You are the generation that has voted once, twice or never. And this is why your views on things that matter like governance and economics, among others, are, ‘‘I don’t care.’’  You were born at a time when the Moi government was implementing the Structural Adjustment Programs, a pathetic foreign program that crippled the economy and left many with economic wounds still being nursed to date. Then came the repeal of section 2A of the constitution, after years of struggle and an attempted coup, multipartism was reintroduced. For the next two elections, Kenya witnessed election-related violence like never before, some of your parents actively took part in the skirmishes. Between 1990 and 1999 your parents made poor choices, and going by recent trends it looks like they passed down their poor decision-making skills to you, because in the two elections you have taken part in, you have redefined the meaning of poor electoral choices.

You have voted for and supported incompetence, you have given mediocre politicians a god-like status, you have sat back unperturbed by reckless economic policies, you have cheered at nonsense and jeered at sense.

You have voted for and supported incompetence, you have given mediocre politicians a god-like status, you have sat back unperturbed by reckless economic policies, you have cheered at nonsense and jeered at sense. You have laughed when the police brutalized fellow Kenyans and tweeted in support of such immorality.

Truth is, your parents cannot save you from this one. You cannot call home and get an M-pesa message that solves your trouble. Here is the thing, you must grow up and part of this means taking up responsibility for your future. Knowing that it is important to work hard in school, but even more important is asking about the quality of that education and an assurance of a job upon completion or having an enabling environment for you to innovate and create jobs for other young people.

Growing up means less tweeting and more action. It calls upon you to organize yourselves and support those among you who can represent you at the table where decisions are made and where the national cake is being shared.

Growing up means stopping less complaining and more taking of responsibility. You must teach yourself to not only understand your rights but also embrace and take responsibility. Participate in shaping your future and in defining the destiny of your nation.

Like the hummingbird, what’s your little thing? Find it and pursue it relentlessly. Make your voice heard. Salvage your generation. Be the change.

The Author is the Communications Officer at ELF. 

1 reply
  1. Joanne Wamaitha
    Joanne Wamaitha says:

    It may not necessarily be that the 20 to 29 year olds are lazy, it may simply be that they are missing. Kenyans in their 30s pengine they already have spouses or a child or two, and so are tied down to this land- its different for Kenyans in their 20s who have no savings. If you go to see the sheer number of Millenials who have been applying for passports to go abroad for work [to the Middle East or more stable African economies] you’ll think that the entire generation of young Kenyan adults in their 20s is looking to exit the country. They know that corruption is entrenched in Kenya and that it is slyly encouraged by nations like US [because they somehow benefit from it] and that it will take a gargantuan effort to remove it. The young adults know that they have no chance of succeeding in this and so gave up long ago, and are now going to be employed as maids/cooks/drivers/security guards in the Middle East [for the semi-skilled] or as regular workers in the West where they might chance upon stable employment. I dare say I admire the fact that they ‘read the signs’ long before I did. Young Kenyan adults are exiting this nation at a frightening rate, but its hard to know this if you yourself have no reason to frequent the immigration offices.

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