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Dear Kenyans,
Been giving some thought to the attempt by folks from many sides to define what constitutes legitimate protest against wrongdoing by GoK. It seems there are two main issues raised: who is protesting and where they are protesting. Both, in my view, are spurious.
Some claim that those who either voted for Jubilee or didn't participate in the NASA demos against the 2017 elections have no standing to protest GoK malfeasance today. That's BS. Every Kenyan has every right to demand better from GoK regardless of how they voted.
Now, in the spirit of accountability, I believe that those who openly supported Jubilee, and especially GoK's illegal actions after the August 8 polls, should expect harsh questions but this would not undermine the legitimacy of their protests for better governance.
There is the related issue of where folks protest. Some claim that protests in what they describe as "gentried spaces" don't count. Others, like @bonifacemwangi, call folks who choose to make their protests online "slaves" or "noise makers". Both of these are also misguided.
All public spaces, "gentried" or not, contested or not, online or on the street, are legitimate and useful spaces for protest. In the 90s movement for reform, the folks who published columns and reported in the press were just as important as those who turned up in the street.
The very act of political expression, wherever it may take place, is to be encouraged. It is not for nothing that governments make huge efforts to distort, coopt or extinguish online discussions and activism. They do this because they recognize the power of such. We should too.
"Keyboard warriors", I think, is a designation to be embraced. We need folks willing to do the intellectual labors of debate and amplification. If they also go on to other spaces, such as the street, then all the better. But not doing so does not demean their contributions.
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