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Millennials: Cease the moment, or forever remain the leaders of tomorrow



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As the year comes to a close, I have decided to write a letter to the millennials in solidarity with them, as ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends.

It will not be the first letter to them, in as many weeks: David Ndii, a very well-known charitable Kenyan and a public figure to boot, wrote this much-understated and misunderstood generation a missive recently.

The upshot of his epistle to the millennials was this: ladies and gentlemen, you are on your own, stop believing that the government has your interests (least of all this Jubilee government), that other generations, past and present, owe you a living, and that they should be very wary of politicians, who lie to you (majority of them are liars) that you are the future of tomorrow, that is if tomorrow comes.

My letter to this group will not stray from these ministrations and precautions. Rather, it will re-emphasis them, and caution millennials even further about the dangers that lurk around them.

Like Ndii’s letter, I believe, my letter is not about offering prescriptive measures, but reminding them that even though they may think themselves special, always young and a trifle better educated and travelled than their predecessor Generation X, they seem to suffer from an entitlement ailment and at the same time victimhood mania. They also seem to crave for (unwarranted) attention, love and understanding.

Millennials, trust me, one day you will be blamed for all the massive underdevelopment of this country by a reactionary government and its political cohorts.

To support the appointment of Moody Awori who was already retired when the earliest millennials were being born Yusuf Hassan, the MP for Kamukunji constituency, in Nairobi, likened the criticisms of appointing a nonagenarian to a rigorous government job, as akin to racial discrimination. He called it ageism. In one of his twitter feeds, he said he was ”appalled” by this new type of discrimination. I took him to task: I told him I was equally ”appalled” by Jubilee Party that had engaged in political violence, verbal abuse of judicial officials, electoral malpractices and all the while he was mum about these vices. I think, he was really irked by my observation about his apparent equivocation: his one-word reply for me was ”BARK” in capital letters, meaning, I could bark (like a dog), all I could.

Millennials, does it shock you that the MP in his one-word rejoinder to me was expressing a disdain for being questioned, by a person who is younger and who has the effrontery to remind him of his obvious prevarication? You should not, for what the MP was doing was simply to protect his interests and ageism, whatever that means.

I am not even a millennial, but the MP could not countenance my questioning his obvious silence ”when the man died”, but suddenly finding his voice to champion a ”human rights” issue, a secondary matter in the wake of a tottering government that has gone on a borrowing binge, indebting the country into trillion of dollars. Do you know who will pay that money? It is not the MPs and their families, but you millennials and your grandchildren. Touch wood: I am not telling you anything new.

It was bad enough for us generation X, during the one party state under the monolithic rule of Daniel arap Moi. With the Jubilee Party government, you millennials are looking at a chasm, at a bottomless pit of hopes dashed and aspirations squashed. And you should not question your honourable MP and senators, ”their excellency” the governors and the imperial Presidency.

When you question why a great grandfather is being rewarded with a government job, you are quickly labelled a thief and a discriminator. Euphemisms are quickly formed – ageism – to brand you as anti-modernist, retrogressive and unmindful of age, as distraction to your agitation. Goodness heavens! Millennials, hear me please: Politicians in this country do not, have not, will not, shall not ever have your welfare at heart, or anywhere else in their scheme of things.

They abuse, misuse and use you during their electoral campaigns, promising you a Shangri-La, when they take power. But what has been happening since 1963, 55 years ago? ”The youth are the leaders of tomorrow” song has been belted out by politicians who were once youthful themselves, but once they got in the August House, all they thought about was to perpetuate themselves in power. Millennials, are you shocked that those once considered and presumed progressive voices, are the same voices, accusing you of theft and anti-ageism?

The chief interest which I referred to above by Kenyan politicians is their ultimate urge to maintain their class superstructure, which supersedes age, ethnicity, politics, race and religious differences. The Kenyan politicians – whatever his or her age, will do whatever it takes to perpetuate themselves, all the while, using the youth as a means to an end. Once they achieve their powerful positions, to which they have used you as ladders, you suddenly achieve a nuisance value.

As millennials, you must realise that the Kenyan political animal called the politician is the greatest enemy to your self-actualization: economically, politically and socially. It is in your interest to dethrone this animal, capture the power it wields, courtesy of your numerical might. But you must stop being exploitable, by being greedy and politically naïve.

Mr Kahura is a senior writer for ‘The Elephant’, a Nairobi-based publication. Twitter: @KahuraDauti