The Unfortunate Results of Maandamano

By Seliphar Machoni

It is understandable that Kenyans are hungry. It is understandable that Kenyans are disappointed with the way things are going in the country recently. The Kenya Kwanza administration is taking time to communicate to Kenyans measures or programs they have put in place to address the current issue eating up Kenyans, issue of the high cost of living and high taxes.

It always feels good to be part of a history being made, especially politically, but the way everything is going, it seems Kenyans have lost track of what they are fighting for. It is evident from Wednesday’s demonstrations that Kenyans have taken another root of demonstration.

Kenyans have a right to protest, picket and express peacefully. But they seem to be using their freedom in an inappropriate manner.  On Wednesday’s demonstration, Kenyans went overboard by destroying property, stealing and even leading to death and injuries of some of the protesters.

It is so sad that we destroy what we built ourselves with our taxes and whose repair and construction will be paid for by Kenyans. Kenyans are using their freedom of expression to destroy other people’s property. Steal from their fellow Kenyans and kill each other all in the name of “maandamano”

“Punda amechoka, punda amechoka, tunakufa njaa, shukisha bei ya mafuta, shukisha gharama ya maisha.” Yes, they were hard singing on top of their voices but behind them, setting a fellow Kenyans car a blaze.

I was once told that no politician can die for a common mwananchi. But why destroy what belongs to us? It is so sad that the youths are the targeted people. Youths are used to cause chaos, to destroy property, to kill and stone fellow Kenyans. They say youths are leaders of tomorrow, but when we kill ourselves, where will tomorrow’s leaders come from?

It was a painful scene to see students who know nothing about demonstration getting hurt in the process. On Wednesday 12th July 2023, more than fifty-three pupils were rushed to hospital in Nairobi after tear gas was thrown into their class by the police during protests to dispatch protesters.

According to the report from Eagle Nursing Home hospital where the children were taken, most of the students suffered breathing difficulties and shock.

Apart from that, more than six people lost their lives in the protests. Two of them were reported dead after protesters set fire to a police station, while another was reported dead during an attack on a police van along Nairobi Expressway on the outskirts of the city.

A good number of people, including police officers, were reported injured in the protests called by opposition leader Raila Odinga.   

Wednesday’s protests came just a few days after several people were injured during anti-government demonstrations last Friday, where human rights activities accused the Kenyan police of using excessive force.

Kenyans are divided by the on-going protests, with some of the Kenyans supporting the protests saying that the cost of living is unbearable for a common mwananchi.

“We Kenyans, we are defending ourselves against the high cost of living and high taxes imposed on us. Salaries we are paid are not enough to sustain our lives in Kenya right now.” One of the protesters said.

Kenyans whose businesses were destroyed complained of looting, describing that a group of more than 400 people broke into a supermarket, stole and destroyed some of the items.

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