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Ichung’wah, Ndii & Sudi: What They Said Against Gen Z Protests & Their Change Of Tune

Before the address, three leaders in the ruling party drew uproar over their criticism of Gen Zs while conducting their protests

Amidst President William Ruto praising the Gen Zs in his first statement since the protests against the Finance Bill 2024 broke out on Tuesday, June 18, some key politicians who held their controversial reservations against Kenya’s young generation have had to eat their words.

Ruto, who spoke on Sunday, June 23 at a church service in Nyahururu, announced that the government was willing to engage them in conversation having listened to them.

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“I want to congratulate our young people for coming out and being concerned about Kenya’s affairs. They have done a democratic duty to stand and be recognised. We are going to have a conversation with the youth. We are going to engage them. They have stood out and have been recognised,” Ruto stated.

“I am very proud of our young people. They have stepped forward, tribeless and peaceful.”

President William Ruto speaking during a church service in Nyahururu on June 23, 2024. /PCS

Before the address, three leaders in the ruling party drew uproar over their criticism of Gen Zs while conducting their protests but have had to redeem themselves after noticing the grave mistake they committed, hailing the Gen Z and millennials as protesters promoting a forward-thinking approach.

Viral Tea covers what those leaders said against Gen Zs and their comments hailing them:

Kimani Ichung’wah

The National Assembly Majority Leader rattled the hornet’s nest when he claimed that the group is composed of the elites who rely on iPhones and online taxis to attend protests.

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What He Said

Speaking in Eldama Lavine in Baringo County, the Kenya Kwanza allied leader said “The Gen Z have iPhones and use Ubers to protest. They come from protests and go to KFC to eat chicken and fries…and have bottled water, did you see them? They don’t know how much of a problem no power connectivity is…they have power 24/7,”

Hail Gen Z

However, on Sunday, Ichung’wah appeared to wave the white flag, remarking that their protests defied ethnic and tribal barriers that had for years divided the country. 

“The emergence of Gen Z as a force in advocacy and governance has shown a remarkable shift towards unity and inclusivity, transcending ethnic and tribal barriers that have long divided us. This new generation exemplifies a forward-thinking approach, prioritizing common goals and shared values over narrow, divisive identities,” Ichung’wah stated.

“It is disappointing to witness some national leaders clinging to outdated notions of tribalism and ethnic division. Our Gen Z clearly demonstrates a more progressive vision for our nation’s future, setting an example that all leaders should aspire to follow.”

David Ndii

President William Ruto’s chief economic advisor was among Ruto’s allies who began the drive of discrediting the online efforts that started on TikTok around two weeks ago and culminated in the protests, terming the digital activism as “wanking.”

What He Said

“Politics is a contact sport. Digital activism is just wanking. Any jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a good carpenter to build one,” Ndii stated. 

According to him, the demonstrations were being conducted by children of the wealthy whose parents had earlier plundered the country.

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Hail Gen Z

On Sunday, explaining his change of heart, Ndii stated that the youths were demanding accountability in a democratic country.

“We are with them 100 per cent. They do not want the politics of kingpins and tribes. We are with them 100 per cent,” he stated.

“They do not want to be used by demagogues and sore losers with axes to grind. We are with them 100 per cent,” he added noting that the Gen Z protestors had enough support from the reformists in Ruto’s administration. 

Oscar Sudi

The Kapseret Member of Parliament (MP) also sought to censure the protests, claiming that the youth did not understand the bill. 

Protesters in Nairobi against the Finance Bill 2024. /THE STAR

What He Said

Niliona hao Gen Z, hata mtoto wangu pengine alikuwa hapo, lakini hawaelewi hii finance bill,” Sudi remarked. Loosely translated to “I saw the Gen Z, even my child is one of them, but they don’t understand the Finance Bill”.

This was despite the document containing the proposals in the Finance Bill made available online throughout the country in mid-May, more than a month ago.

Hail Gen Z

Noting how impressed he was by the young generation’s determination, Sudi revealed that he initiated discussions with President Ruto to pay attention to their concerns and include them in the Finance Bill and budget-making processes.

I laud the determination and zeal demonstrated by the youthful Gen-Z. Going forward, the current leadership must incorporate their concerns in making major decisions. This is truly an awakening moment for our youth in their journey to self-realisation,” he stated.

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“I laud the determination demonstrated by Gen-Z. Going forward, the current leadership must incorporate their concerns in making major decisions. We must listen to them. I spoke to Ruto and we agreed that we will include Gen Z in the planning of next year’s Finance Bill.”

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