In Kenya, the ‘glorious spectacle’ of a new generation rising

Across the country, Kenyans are taking to the streets as the country enters the final phase of a slow revolution. Revolted by the state’s arrogance, corruption and systematic denial of its needs – of which the current budget proposal is only the latest example – a new generation of Kenyans has decided to take up the fight, and it is putting on a glorious spectacle.

Two years ago, these same young people were tried “disengaged”, having missed the call of the polls for the legislative elections. “This is a huge step backwards for democracy,” lamented one observer. Far from being disengaged, young Kenyans are showing us that what they are rejecting is in reality what I called at the time the “political rituals inherited from their parents”, in other words, the modes of democratic participation that the elders value even though they have constantly proven their ineffectiveness.

The new generation “chooses new modes of interaction with the government, more effective, and mobilizable between two elections”.

The failure of the postcolonial generation

This dynamic is not new. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, their parents also rejected the rules of the game handed down by the independence generation, which privileged development, unity and peace, often at the expense of democratic expression and individual rights.

As they organized “mass actions” to demand reforms, they too adapted and took advantage of certain global developments, such as the end of the Cold War, to create powerful coalitions and institutions existing outside the state in order to transform popular discontent into

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