Time to Get Kenya Out of Tragedy after Gen Z Set the Path. Let Us All Build the Kenya we Deserve

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If you have heard us, no more talking, just act – Senator Asige to State
“You will never convince our generation that you can ever be trusted, ever again.”

Senator Crystal Asige, a singer-songwriter, champion for disability rights, and trailblazing member of the Kenyan Senate gave her views on the the murder of so many people during the protests that every Kenyan particularly Kenyan politicians should pay attention to and pin on their walls.

Crystal Asige condemned the government over its alleged use of brute force in containing Gen Z protesters on Tuesday which left several youths dead.

“When young people marched patriotically, wearing Kenyan flags on their backs and raising their voices, you responded with bullets and death. And now you have supposedly ‘heard’ and want dialogue? For 20 months you have been speaking, it’s our time now,” she said.

Senator Asige said time for talks has lapsed and all the young people want now is action.

“If you have heard us, then no more talking—just act. We want to wake up in the morning with budget allocations reworked, with the Appropriations Bill overhauled, your MPs sacked, your Cabinet Secretaries sacked, the wheels of Constitutional amendments to begin turning, and your resignation on Gen-Z’s desk for them to decide whether to accept,” Asige told MPs.

While speaking on the floor of the House on Wednesday, Asige opposed a motion for the House to go on recess until the issues outlined above are finalised.

“I’m speaking for the youth who are outside this House, we cannot go on recess. It is wrong and it will be completely insensitive to do so,” she said.

“We reject this Finance Bill because we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees. We are not a generation who are silenced by every carrot dangled in front of them. We are the generation that asks questions and demands accountability because we understand that we are rich and only if the money that we refuse tastes better than the money that we accept.

Asige said going on recess would be a demonstration that “darkness fears democracy”.

“Young Kenyans have looked their oppressor dead in the eye and shown them that when it comes down to the wire, there are only two times to be brave; when you feel like it and when you don’t,” she said.

“And Mr Speaker, I just want to comfort those (killed and injured) in closing by saying that even though they cut our wings and tie our feet, still we will rise, Viva comrades!”

President Ruto hosts Catholic bishops at State House

I have rarely in my whole life heard such eloquent straight forward and inspiring words like what Senator Crystal Asige told the senators and the country in my long life as a human rights activist and my hope is that the politicians are genuinely listening to her concerns because Kenya is at the door of a complete national destruction and disaster.

Empty political gimmicks like President Ruto summoning church leaders to go have tea with him at State House pretending to be addressing the concerns of Kenyans particularly the youth are just meaningless and plainly offensive. They can have their pictures in expensive suits and nobody cares. Kenya has gone past that stage of pretend solutions.

Kenyans want solutions to the economic nightmare they are facing everyday and there is no time for those who think they own the country to keep fooling around anymore.

So far President Ruto’s actions within the budget indicates that Ruto now sees an opportunity to achieve his goals and cut everything Kenyans need after Finance Bill 2024 was withdrawn because Kenyans rejected it with their blood.

Ruto’s very vile message to Kenyans is that they rejected his budget and now they can go eat grass as he brings a Supplementary budget with Sh. 346 billion cuts that will affect poor Kenyans to the bone.

Gov’t Set For Budget Cuts As President Ruto Signs Appropriations Bill 2024

“On Wednesday 26th June 2024, I declined to sign the Finance Bill 2024 consequently sending a memorandum to the National Assembly rejecting all clauses of the Bill…Articles 221 and 222 of the Constitution require that the Appropriations Bill be assented to by the 30th of June every year to guarantee the continuity of government operations, especially in providing critical services,” he stated.

“I have therefore assented to the Appropriations Bill 2024 and instructed the National Treasury to immediately prepare supplementary estimates to reduce expenditure by the amount of revenue that was expected to be generated by the rejected Finance Bill 2024.”

The President said the Finance Bill was expected to generate Ksh.346 billion, and the money will now be borne by all levels of government.

According to the President’s directive, all accounting officers are expected to ensure that only critical and essential services are funded, using no more than 15% of the budget, until the supplement budget is approved.

William Ruto is telling Kenyans that since they refused to pay his additional taxes on bread, sanitary pads and everything else now he is going to starve them to death because he is cutting the budget they already have by the amount he expected to raise for the additional taxes.

How the heck were those services paid for before without the new taxes. President Ruto is playing a dangerous blackmail game on Kenyans and could backfire really bad and this time there will be no coming back and the country to go up in smoke. If that is what William Ruto wants he is going to get it very quickly.

So what should Kenya do now. Let’s start with the obvious and you can get that listening to this grandmother who lost her grandson in Githurai who spoke at a press event help by Azimio leader Kalonzo Musyoka at KNH.

“Stop all these stories, just a minute, please I’m begging. What are we supposed to do? Nimetafuta kila mahali, hawa waliniambia ningoje mpaka kesho. I want just to know, where is my grandson?” She interjected.

“How many others are crying like that? Tunasema poleni sana kwa wote ambao wameathirika tangu Tuesday. Naishi karibu na Rongai and I could hear gunshots up to 8pm,” Kalonzo responded. 

“Sitanyamaza, where is my grandson? Mmeua watoto sababu gani?” She ranted.

“I don’t even know how I can continue because she expresses emotions. It is possible for people who have negative energy to think we may have asked huyo cucu akuje alie hapa. In fact I was frightened myself, I thought she was going to kick me out,” Kalonzo remarked.

“That is reflective of the anguish Kenyans are going through. For me what has happened to Kenya is a real reawakening. The spirit of Kenyans saying there shall be open democracy. God save Kenya.”

“Isn’t Ruto a child? I want my grandson. If not that, I will come to State House. I don’t know where he is ever since the Githurai incident. He is called Ishmael Kamau, 21 years. Ruto give me my child back or give me yours. You want another ten years to harm our children, give me my grandson,” she said. “Shoot me 20 times but I want my grandson.”

Friday, June 28, 2024 – 21-year-old Evans Kiratu is among the peaceful protesters who died after being brutalized by the police. Kiratu died after being hit by a teargas canister fired by the police.

Issue Number One for anybody concerned about those killed by the police is to determine the exact number of those killed and those injured. Many families in sheer pain are still looking for their loved ones and they are all over the hospitals and in funeral homes looking for their family members who have disappeared.

An exterior view of three connected buildings with a blue sign in front reading "International Criminal Court."


LSK President Faith Odhiambo disputed the revelations by President William Ruto that only six people had lost their lives during the protests which spiraled across 35 out of 47 counties.

“We will not allow any of the numbers to be swept under the carpet. We will be working with other human rights groups and doctors to collate the number of deaths so that we table the report to IPOA and the public,” Odhiambo said.

Odhiambo condemned reported cases of abductions, questioning why the government was perpetrating extra-judicial killings in the country with concerns of incommunicado arrests. 

“You cannot fake some of these things, government must be held accountable for every blood that has been shed for the finance bill,” she stated.

LSK should work with other human rights organization like KHRC, KNCHR and collect the entire data of all those killed and injured. This group can also set up a committee to collect the personal details like names, homes and witnesses from all the atrocities. Please do not rely on IPOA which is run behind the scene by the state to protect police who kill Kenyans.

Julia Doublait of the International Federation for Human Rights speaking during the launch of a joint report, "Sexual Violence as a political tool during Elections in Kenya." Photo Credit: @KHRC

Kenyans should do what the human rights groups did after the 2007/8 mass murders in the country and went all over the country to get details of victims and witnesses. The time to do that is right now when that information has not been grabbed and hidden by Ruto’s operatives who will hide the dead bodies and kill witnesses. That is the way it works.

Kenya human rights organizations have to provide concrete information about those killed and injured by Kenya police and other security officers.

That is the data that can be presented to the ICC and ask the prosecutor there Mr. Karim Khan to send investigators to verify those facts and if necessary charge President Ruto, the Police IG Koome and Interior CS Kindiki at the ICC.

Here is an undercover police officer opening fire on a crowd just shooting people dead and nothing has been done even after the Kenyan public released live video of this man shooting a crowd of peaceful protestors.

Uproar as Kenyans expose police officer who shot at peaceful crowd

This time human rights groups in Kenya may have an airtight case at the ICC. Once that pressure is on the ground President Ruto will stop fooling around with Kenyans because he knows the consequences that will follow. If Kenyans just beg Ruto for mercy he is going to be laughing at them all the time.

The good news for the country is that for once in a very long time, LSK has a very dedicated and hardworking president and she can lead the process of taking the crimes committed against Kenyans during the protests to the ICC.

The Issue Number Two is how to address the cost of living problems that the Gen Z protestors have put on the table very clearly starting from stopping crazy taxes on basic needs for all Kenyans and most importantly not giving youth a chance to get jobs and run businesses.

So far the only response from Ruto on budget issues is to take out Sh. 346 billion from the budget which is going to have terrible impact on the lives of Kenyans. William Ruto’s response to the demands at the demos is to increase the cost living.

William Ruto must sit down with the young Kenyans, opposition leaders and human rights groups as well as economy experts to come up with a viable budget that will be acceptable to Gen Z and to the Kenyan people. That has to be done very fast without feet dragging to keep people in misery for months.

That should already be underway and this time everything should made public right of the bat so ordinary Kenyans are involved in the process and they can reach a final budget and finance bill that will address the concerns Kenyans have about the economy.

If that process works successfully Kenyans will have a budget they can identify with and they will not have to depend on MPs who do not care at all about the lives of Kenyans. Ruto meeting the Bishops at State House will not solve that.

Also this time Kenyans will need real public participation on the budget. Ruto and his MPs seem to think that public participation is about them make speeches in parliament and thumping their chests at Kenyans because they are protected by their president. Once that process is completed the country will have a budget for 2024/25.

The Number Three issue that many Kenyan public groups are already asking for is a complete audit of government expenditures as well as hiring of excessive number of civil servants according to the wishes of the big voices in government including some CS covering key ministries like education, agriculture, Health, Public Service Commission and many others.

One big problem in Kenya is that even though we have a great Auditor General Nancy Gathungu who unearths billions being stolen in every ministry and even in counties, the Ruto government has never even paid the tiniest attention to her reports on tens of billions from everywhere in government and Kenyans know why.

Ms. Nancy Gathungu was sworn in as the Auditor General of the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of Kenya on July 17, 2020.

One the biggest problems that the Auditor General faces is that the office has no staff to do the auditing so they can only audit a minor maybe one percent of the thieving of public money in the country. Ruto is ready to fund illegal CAS appointees and offices but funding the Auditor General to hire enough staff to save Kenyan taxpayers money from being robbed everyday is not anything the regime is interested in. Of course we know why.

Other than state offices and officials who must be audited I am urging the Gen Z teams to demand a complete audit of the NG CDF money which is now pocket money for MPs. That is the money that was meant to provide jobs and business opportunities for Kenyans in their own constituencies. Kenyans never see a penny of that and it is part of the reason youth all over Kenya have no chance for economic development.

Right now we all know there are big fights going on between MPs and their constituents. In fact the Ruto MPs who were singing and clapping with him as he was killing Kenyan youth are too scared even to go back to their constituencies. They know how much their own constituents hate them.

My advice to young Kenyans is please don’t attack them because they have already attacked themselves politically and they have zero chance to be re-elected as MPs. Those MPs’ job now as they have been doing for two years is to steal the entire CDF money which is Sh. 133 million per year for each constituency.

In fact, Ruto was going to add another Sh. 30 million per constituency per year in his failed Finance Bill 2024 and that was Ruto’s plan to make sure the MPs will vote for his budget and have more pocket money (CDF).

The reason MPs even the ones who have been in office for only two years are super rich buying the biggest cars for show and looking super rich is because that CDF is their personal money. So these MPs who now know it could be a disaster in the next election are going to grab every penny of that CDF money and they are saying oh these voters think they can throw me out of office but I will be richer than all of them combined. So that is the MP in Kenyan politics now.

For me I am against attacking the MPs physically. I am even much more against attacking the CDF offices and burning them down including those big cars there. Why am I against that? Because those CDF offices and cars do not belong to the MPs but belong to the constituents. I know the MPs have grabbed them but if you burn them down you as a constituent you are burning down your own property.

What we need is for the Gen Z protestors and other Kenyans to demand a complete audit of NG CDF money given to every constituency in Kenya.

Question one is how much money did the constituency receive in the last two years from NG CDF budget. Next question is for every MP to show how they have spent every penny of that public money. If this is done every MP is in trouble.

Chairperson of the Budget and Appropriations Committee in Parliament, Ndindi Nyoro, has said monies meant for bursaries under the NG-CDF kitty will be released before students report for their first term.

The biggest and most successful theft of CDF money is that the MPs have now turned to the CDF as bursary money for school students and pupils in their constituencies. It is the best way to steal all the CDF money.

If the MPs are asked to provide the names of the students they have given the bursaries to the MPs have no such lists because they don’t exist. What is going too happen now if there is an audit is that every MP will compile a list of tens of thousands of students they gave the bursaries to and there is a big trick there. Nobody knows who those students are and nobody can contact them to verify.

Those are the best theft methods in the world. Even the Mafia could not find such easy way to rob everything from the public. The Kenya government has figured it out so the MPs get their cut of the theft of public money and they support the big thieves above them. Couldn’t work any better. It has to be stopped for Kenya to have any hope of developing in all communities.

Final Issue on what we need as a country to avoid descending into hell is we need fresh General elections as soon as possible. The first face of that is to get the new IEBC set up very quickly. There is no need to fight over this within the political parties in the country. It is time to compromise and set up a credible IEBC and that should be done within the next 30 days and let the country head to an election by December 2024.

Here is the big issue for the next elections which could happen anytime. The real issue here which has to be addressed by President Ruto and all the political parties and groups is that Kenya after setting up the new IEBC need to give Kenyans a 90 day opportunity to register as voters. For many of Gen Z that would be a great opportunity because their country will be telling them if you want to change your country for the better you have to do it at the ballot box.

There has been all this talk about “Influencers” in the current political battles in the country but the whole world knows that the biggest “influencer” in politics is your vote.

That is why Kenyans must give the youth who are eligible a chance to register as voters. Who knows they may decide to vote for William Ruto but once Kenyans give this generation a chance to vote we will be telling them that if you want to change the political direction in your country then do it with your vote.

And if they have it in their hands our country will be heading somewhere. There is no question about that from what we have seen in the last month in our 61 years as an independent country.

The other part of giving the youth a chance to vote is that once a voter registration system is set up it should go hand in hand with giving the youth a chance to get the national IDs. Without the ID you cannot register as a voter.

The way forward should be to open ID centers all over the country as well as voter registration centers. Let us have that for 90 days and have our elections at the end of 2024, which is our year of disaster. What can possibly be wrong with that.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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