Monday, July 22, 2024
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Gen Zs Have Arrived!

They are fearless. They are loud. They shut down almost the whole country and left some Members of Parliament (MP) shaking

Welcome to Episode 16 of ‘Spill The Tea’, the second episode in Season 2 where the revolution is being led…by Gen Z!

They are fearless. They are loud. They shut down almost the whole country and left some Members of Parliament (MP) shaking, so let’s just wait and see what will happen next after they ignored everything and voted in favour of the Finance Bill.

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On Episode 16:

  1. The Gen Z Maandamano
  2. How Your MPs ACTUALLY Voted On Finance Bill 2024 [DATA]
  3. Ruto Lied About Kenya Airways Being ‘Expensive’
  4. Finance Bill 2024: Some Proposals Dropped But Not The WHOLE THING


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  • Owing to possible public demand and to accommodate all our readers, we have expanded to our article version. Not to worry, the LinkedIn version will still be posted first, followed by the article version later

The Gen Z Maandamano

Last year, the anti-government protests were led by the opposition Azimio la Umoja coalition…but this time round, those protests took a new face:

Kenya is witnessing a remarkable shift in political activism, driven largely by the fervent activism of Generation Z. This generation, born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, is coming of age in a time of significant socio-economic challenges and rapid technological advancements.

Gen Z in Kenya have become increasingly vocal and active in the political discourse, driven by a unique set of factors that compel them to demand change. We picked out some of them:


A protester perching atop a traffic light in Nairobi during #REJECTFINANCEBILL2024 protests

High taxation

A critical issue that has galvanised Gen Z in Kenya, the burden of punitive taxes on individuals and businesses has been a significant point of contention.

Young professionals and entrepreneurs have found themselves overwhelmed by taxes that eat into their earnings and profits, making it difficult to save, invest, or expand their businesses.

Gen Z activists are therefore calling for tax reforms that ensure a more equitable distribution of the tax burden, encourage business growth, and make it easier for young entrepreneurs to thrive, with calls for a more favourable tax regime that could stimulate economic activity, create jobs, and ultimately generate more revenue for the government through a broader tax base

Limited employment opportunities

One of the primary catalysts for political activism among Gen Z in Kenya is the severe shortage of employment opportunities. Despite high levels of education, many young Kenyans find themselves unemployed or underemployed, which is a huge problem if you don’t add the job crisis in the county.

The unemployment rate for youth is alarmingly high, with a significant portion of this demographic struggling to secure stable and meaningful employment.

Additionally, the slow growth of the formal sector has failed to keep pace with the burgeoning youth population.

This disparity has led to frustration and disillusionment among young people, who feel that their potential is being squandered.

3. High costs of doing business

Young entrepreneurs face numerous barriers, including bureaucratic red tape, exorbitant licensing fees, and inadequate access to financing whenever they think of doing business and starting new ventures.

These challenges stifle innovation and entrepreneurship, which are crucial for economic growth and job creation, and disproportionately affect young people, who often lack the financial resources and networks to navigate such complexities.

Add cost of living, corruption & governance issues, environmental issues and so on…and the country’s leadership ignited a powder keg that was bound to blow up eventually.

For three days straight, Gen Zs overtook Nairobi and major towns such as Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Nanyuki among others, marching with determination in opposition to the Finance Bill. A notable difference? There was NO destruction of property and NO looting of businesses.

The police, many argue, should have stayed out of this one and ensured protection, but when Nairobi Region Police Commander Adamson Bungei deemed the protests illegal, it became a battle of cops vs protesters which should not have happened. In his words:

“We have heightened our patrols within the CBD to ensure there is no disruption of businesses. Nobody applied for any license or permit to do the protests.”

Teargas, water cannons, and live bullets (in some instances) were on protesters who demonstrated peacefully and enjoyed themselves while at it. Now we know who the real buzzkill was.

March to Parliament, made almost. To catch them off-guard, some made their way to the entrance of State House…no recent protest had ever got to that point.

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Protesters making their way towards State House

If you liked the three days of protests, word has it that they will continue next week.

How Your MPs ACTUALLY Voted On Finance Bill 2024 [DATA]

It was initially announced that 204 MPs voted in favour of progressing the Finance Bill to the Third Reading and 115 voted against it, with zero abstentions.

Mzalendo Watch made public the identities of the lawmakers and their stance on the Finance Bill. We would later collate this data and found out that there were a few absentees when voting took place on Thursday afternoon…the protests in the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) and across the country led by Gen Zs notwithstanding.

From our findings using the Mzalendo Watch data, 198 MPs voted in favour of the Finance Bill while 112 voted against it, an increase from last year’s voting on the Finance Bill 2023 which saw 162 MPs voting in favour of the Bill and 74 against it.

21 MPs were absent from the voting this year, a drop from 24 last year. One MP was unwell, Tubi Mohamed, though it was indicated that he communicated with Speaker Moses Wetangula.

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Visual of how MPs voted on the Finance Bill

And in true, digital and Gen Z fashion, we created an interactive table where you can easily search for the name of your MP who was present for the voting.

Access it here: How Your MPs Actually Voted For Finance Bill 2024 [NUMBERS & NAMES]

Ruto Lied About Kenya Airways Being ‘Expensive’

Long ago, it used to be difficult to tell if a Head of State was lying. Then President William Ruto came in.

It was on Sunday, May 26 that President Ruto stirred conversation across different quarters following his explanation on deciding to hire a luxurious private jet to the United States (US) for his visit as compared to flying commercially with Kenya Airways (KQ).

Ruto argued that the jet presented the cheapest option compared to using commercial means, saying on his X account that;

“As a responsible steward of public resources and in keeping with my determination for us to live within our means and that I should lead from the front in so doing, the cost was less than travelling on KQ.”

However, on Monday morning June 17, the Head of State jetted into the country from Switzerland using…wait for it…a Kenya Airways flight.


President William Ruto jets into Kenya from Switzerland on June 17, 2024. /PCS

The President earlier travelled to Italy and later Switzerland using what was reported to be private means before returning to Kenya.

Ruto arrived in the country aboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This is one of nine aircraft in KQ’s fleet and despite its smaller size compared to the Boeing 777s operated by other airlines, it is used for long-haul to ultra-long-haul trips from Kenya to various countries including the US.

Following criticism over his decision to fly with private means compared to using commercial, President Ruto on Thursday, May 30 narrated how he came to hire the luxurious plane he used to travel to the US, as he revealed that the aircraft cost taxpaying Kenyans about Ksh10 million.

“When I was told the cheapest plane was Ksh70 million, I told my office to go book Kenya Airways.

“Some friends asked me, ‘how much do you want to pay?’ Then I said I was not ready to pay more than Ksh20 million. They said, ‘bring Ksh10 million and we will give you the plane,'” the president remarked.

Finance Bill 2024: Some Proposals Dropped But Not The WHOLE THING

The Kenya Kwanza Parliamentary Group on Tuesday confirmed the removal of several punitive tax proposals in the Finance Bill 2024, during a press briefing at State House.

Speaking after the Group’s session, Finance Committee Chair Kimani Kuria announced that the government was able to respond to the feedback of Kenyans through the reduction of taxes.

Top of the list to be struck off is the plan to impose a 16 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on bread, financial services and foreign exchange transactions.

“We are all in agreement that there are two things we must do. One of them is to protect Kenyans from increased cost of living and therefore the proposed 16 percent VAT on bread has been dropped,” Kuria stated.

Molo MP Kuria Kimani speaking during a Kenya Kwanza Parliamentary Group meeting at State House, Nairobi on June 18, 2024. /PCS

“To support again on reducing the cost of living, we’re doing something about vegetable oil so that we do not make it expensive for Kenyans.”

On the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) and Housing Levy statutory deductions, the MP noted that the deductions would be allowable to Pay As You Earn (PAYE), thus saving salaried Kenyans from paying an additional PAYE on them.

“Levies on the Housing Fund and Social Health Insurance will become income tax deductible. This means the levies will not attract income tax, putting much more money in the pockets of employees,” he remarked.

Regarding the Eco Levy, Kuria clarified that it would only apply to imported finished products, thus sparing those manufactured within Kenya. He further specified that diapers and sanitary towels produced domestically would not be subject to this levy.

“Consequently, locally manufactured products, including sanitary towels, diapers, phones, computers, tyres and motorcycles, will not attract the Eco Levy,” he stated.

Wait, wait, wait!

Aren’t most of the goods Kenyans rely on imported? Including diapers and sanitary pads?

Azimio MPs led by Embakasi East legislator Babu Owino convened a press conference at Parliament Buildings later that day and rebuffed the development as nothing short of a Public Relations gimmick.

Babu said imposing taxes on imported goods will still hurt Kenyans since most other basic items are imported.

“Kenya as a nation depends on 80 per cent of imported goods, including toothpick, tissue paper, foodstuffs, eggs [and] chicken. We are importing all these,” the MP said.

“Therefore, as you purport to only remove the taxation on the locally produced goods but you still raise the tax on imported goods, the person who is going to bear this burden is the common mwananchi.”

According to their reasoning, the Azimio MPs contend that the move by the government is not going to lessen the cost of living for ordinary Kenyans in any way.

Other stories that we kept an eye on for you this week:

  1. Going to the World Cup? Here is Ksh10 million: Sports Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ababu Namwamba on Monday, June 17 announced that the Ministry of Sports awarded Ksh10 million to the Kenya U17 women’s national football team, commonly known as the Junior Starlets, the first Kenyan team in history to qualify for a FIFA World Cup.
  2. No dodgy courts: Chief Justice Martha Koome directed that all makeshift structures which judges and magistrates have been using as alternative courtrooms be shut down, in response to the fatal shooting of Principal Magistrate Monica Kivuti in one of such structures at the Makadara Law Courts.
  3. This Gen Z suddenly became a nationwide sensation for urging Azimio la Umoja leader, Raila Odinga to stay home during the anti-Finance Bill protests. Something Raila was so proud of.
  4. Anonymous, a decentralized international activist and hacktivist collective and movement primarily known for its various cyberattacks against several governments, government institutions, government agencies, corporations and the Church of Scientology, on Wednesday, July 19 issued a stern warning to the Kenyan government and Members of Parliament amidst the protests.
  5. What happens if the Finance Bill is rejected entirely? The National Treasury is bracing itself for a series of major budget cuts in different sectors, warning that failure to pass proposed tax measures outlined in the Finance Bill could result in a substantial revenue shortfall of Ksh200 billion for the fiscal year 2024/25.

News Graphic Of The Week

News graphic of Kimani Ichung’wah responding to Gen Zs making MPs to report to Parliament early on June 20, 2024. /VIRAL TEA KE

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READ ALSO  Raila's Reaction To Gen Z Telling Him To 'Stay At Home' [VIDEO]
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