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7 catchphrases illuminating how Kenyans really feel today

This #PulseList presents phrases that have emerged as poignant expressions, reflecting the true sentiments and emotions felt by Kenyans today.

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In the diverse and dynamic nation of Kenya, catchphrases have emerged as powerful expressions that capture the essence of the country's current reality.

These seven catchphrases have become popular and widely used, resonating with the experiences, concerns, and aspirations of the Kenyan people.

They serve as rallying calls, satirical commentary, or poignant reflections of the nation's state of affairs.


Each catchphrase carries its own weight and significance, shedding light on various aspects of Kenya's social, political, and economic landscape.

From humorous memes to thought-provoking slogans, they have become an integral part of conversations, online discourse, and even political dissent.

The phrase 'Wewe hujali' has been utilised as a cautionary statement to advise individuals participating in protests to ensure they have certain privileges before engaging in Maandamano (street demonstrations).


The purpose of this statement is to target those who lack medical and life insurance coverage and prompt them to consider the potential risks of their actions.

It serves as a reminder that unforeseen incidents or accidents may occur during protests, and individuals without appropriate safeguards could face difficult circumstances and potential regrets.

The underlying message emphasises the importance of personal safety and preparedness, urging individuals to stay safe.

An example: "Hata hujafikisha 40 where life starts na unajitayarisha kwenda maandamano, kwani wewe hujali?"


The phrase '100 bob' gained prominence online following Leonard Omusula's interview with K24, where he mentioned having only Sh100 in his pockets.

Omusula further shared that he intended to allocate Sh40 for purchasing alcohol and Sh60 for transportation fare to return home.

Kenyans, however, have transformed the video into a meme to highlight the high cost of living in the country and to express their concerns about it.


For instance, individuals have been sharing photos taken in supermarkets with shopping carts filled with various items, captioned with "I only have 100 bob," signifying that they don't have enough money to cover the cost of the items.

This now-trending meme serves as a way for citizens to creatively communicate the struggles they face due to the high cost of living, urging the government to take action and address the issue.

The phrase 'Kimeturamba' gained prominence following the arrest of Pastor Paul Mackenzie, who has been prosecuted after his church members fasted to their unfortunate demise.

During his arrest, Mackenzie uttered the phrase 'kitawaramba' to the authorities, conveying a warning that regrettable consequences would befall them for interfering with his work.


Kenyans have since adopted the term and are using it to express their dissatisfaction with elected leaders who prioritise their own interests over the welfare of the people.

The phrase has gained momentum, particularly in response to the increase in fuel prices, which has made it challenging for some individuals to afford basic commodities.

By using 'Kimeturamba,' Kenyans are highlighting their regret for the effects of poor governance and the enactment of policies that adversely impact their daily lives.


Leonard Omusula has once again captured attention with his phrase 'Jina hutaki?' (Don't you want to know my name?), and despite ongoing protests in the country, Kenyans are finding humor in it.

People are creating memes, jokingly stating that they will ask journalists in the streets if they are interested in knowing their names before offering their comments for news reports.

This lighthearted response demonstrates the ability of Kenyans to find humor in simple interactions, even during times of social unrest.


The phrase 'kuinama' gained popularity on the internet, primarily within university students circles.

Though the direct translation of the Swahili word means 'bending down', students are using it to refer to skipping a meal because one cannot afford it or also going without food due to unavoidable circumstances.

However, this term has now transitioned and is being embraced by a broader range of Kenyans, as it serves as a way to address the government and highlight the issue of people going without food for days.

By using 'kuinama,' individuals are expressing their concern and frustration with the current situation, highlighting the hardships faced by many who are unable to afford regular meals.


This phrase has become a symbolic representation of the larger problem of food scarcity and serves as a reminder to the government and society at large to address and find solutions for this critical issue affecting many Kenyans.

Kenyans have bestowed the nickname 'Zakayo' upon President William Ruto, drawing a comparison to the biblical figure Zacchaeus, who was a tax collector.

Ruto is well aware of this nickname and has been adamant on the importance of tax compliance, saying it will reduce the need for the government to seek additional loans from other countries.


However, many Kenyans feel burdened by the government's requests for taxes, as they perceive that they are being asked to contribute a significant amount despite not earning a substantial income.

Whenever Azimio leader Raila Odinga announces the intention to organise protests addressing the high cost of living, Kenyans have consistently found a way to inject humor into the situation, particularly on online platforms like Twitter.

Citizens often take to social media to post images of whistles, vuvuzelas, and t-shirts branded with Raila Odinga's name, suggesting their readiness to participate in the protests.


These humorous posts and images serve as a lighthearted response, allowing individuals to express their support for the cause in a playful and engaging manner.


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