The sports category has moved to a new website.
ADVERTISEMENT

AI & tech tools birth new era of activism by gen z and millennials in Kenya

The song created by artificial intelligence using contents of the Finance Bill 2024 has received close to 1 million views on different social media platforms where it was shared.

A protestor walks away from teargas during Occupy Parliament protests in Kenya

On Tuesday, June 18, Kenyan youth took to the streets of Nairobi in a powerful demonstration against the Finance Bill 2024, during the Occupy Parliament protest.

The scale and intensity of the protest were unprecedented, marking a significant moment in Kenya’s political landscape.

Unlike previous protests, this one did not rely on influential politicians or public figures to mobilise the masses.

Instead, it was a voters-led movement, sparked and fueled by widespread discontent with the proposed tax measures.

ADVERTISEMENT

The protest's origins can be traced to social media, where initial agitations transformed into a full-blown movement.

David Ndii, chairperson of President William Ruto's Council of Economic Advisors, had dismissed the online outcry as mere chatter.

However, the sustained unpopularity of the tax proposals quickly escalated into more tangible actions.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kenyans began sharing personal phone numbers of Members of Parliament (MPs) and other elected leaders, urging citizens to text their representatives to oppose the punitive taxes.

This civic engagement indicated a growing political awareness among Kenyans, particularly among those who had previously been apathetic.

In the lead-up to the protest, Kenyan youth leveraged their technological prowess to spread awareness and rally support.

ADVERTISEMENT

They created artificial intelligence tools to answer questions about the Finance Bill, produced AI-generated music, and used various digital platforms to educate and mobilise the public.

"If you want to further understand the finance bill and its implications, i have created the Finance Bill GPT, a GPT with upto date info on the finance bill, use it to understand the bill and ask any questions you may have," Kelvin Ndemo said.

This helped many young people to interact with the document in a way like never before. For example, one of the queries was how young remote workers employed by businesses outside Kenya would be affected by the Finance Bill 2024.

The song created by AI using contents of the Finance Bill 2024 has received close to 1 million views in different social media platforms where it was shared.

ADVERTISEMENT

Listen to the song made using AI below:

This digital activism played out in broad daylight, catching many leaders off guard, as they underestimated the potential for online mobilisation to translate into real-world action.

On the day of the protest, large crowds gathered in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD), leading to clashes with police.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nairobi Regional Commander Adamson Bungei claimed that the protesters lacked the necessary permits, resulting in the use of tear gas, water cannons, and arrests.

Unlike past protests, this one was notably leaderless, driven instead by the collective energy and determination of millennials and Gen Z participants.

The absence of a traditional "big man" figure marked a new era of political activism in Kenya.

Throughout the protest, demonstrators used their creativity to capture and share content.

ADVERTISEMENT

In one viral video, a young woman addressed opposition leader Raila Odinga, asking him to stay out of the protest, emphasising that the citizens were in charge.

This sentiment reflected a broader desire among the youth to reclaim their political power and challenge the status quo.

Despite the chaos and numerous arrests, the protests had a significant impact. The chants continued in the streets, inside police vehicles and cells where protestors were bundled in.

As President Ruto chaired a meeting with Kenya Kwanza MPs at State House, the National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee briefed the gathering on the public's feedback.

ADVERTISEMENT

By the end of the day, the government conceded to some of the protesters' demands, making adjustments to the most controversial tax proposals and dropping others entirely.

Originally aimed at raising Sh302 billion in revenue, the revised Finance Bill now faces a Sh60 billion shortfall, which will need to be addressed through budget cuts or alternative measures.

This protest not only demonstrated the power of digital activism and youth engagement but also signaled a shift in Kenya’s political dynamics.

It underscored the importance of listening to the voices of all citizens, especially the younger generation, who are increasingly asserting their role in shaping the nation’s future.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.
ADVERTISEMENT

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

Recommended articles

Volunteer retrieving bodies in Kware impresses Kenyans as Sakaja promises reward

Volunteer retrieving bodies in Kware impresses Kenyans as Sakaja promises reward

1 person shot, chaos erupt in Mukuru kwa Njenga as residents recover more bodies [Video]

1 person shot, chaos erupt in Mukuru kwa Njenga as residents recover more bodies [Video]

Safaricom postpones system maintenance & service interruptions planned for Sunday

Safaricom postpones system maintenance & service interruptions planned for Sunday

DCI reveals new details on mutilated bodies recovered in Mukuru kwa Njenga

DCI reveals new details on mutilated bodies recovered in Mukuru kwa Njenga

Bishop bars politicians from speaking at Ruto's event amid pressure from gen Z

Bishop bars politicians from speaking at Ruto's event amid pressure from gen Z

IG Douglas Kanja takes decisive action after discovery of bodies in Mukuru kwa Njenga

IG Douglas Kanja takes decisive action after discovery of bodies in Mukuru kwa Njenga

Ruto offered me a CS position this week & I declined – Azimio Principal reveals

Ruto offered me a CS position this week & I declined – Azimio Principal reveals

DCI gives update amid confusion over number of bodies retrieved in Mukuru kwa Njenga

DCI gives update amid confusion over number of bodies retrieved in Mukuru kwa Njenga

Kenyans react as Shakur the Cop shares his plight after taking part in demos

Kenyans react as Shakur the Cop shares his plight after taking part in demos

ADVERTISEMENT