Change the way you deal with Gen Z or perish, Orengo warns politicians

Siaya Governor James Orengo has fired a warning shot at the political class, insisting that they must change their tack to deal with the current impasse for youths in the country.

He described the recent youth protests as a call for good governance and said it was a wake-up call to the political class.

Orengo warned that the failure of politicians or political parties to listen to the demands of the youth could lead to an uncontrolled situation.

He told President William Ruto that Gen Zs were not “ordinary politicians”.

Quoting former Tanzanian President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Orengo, who has been at the forefront of constitutional reforms for most of his political life, said that all the youth wanted was change and they were ready to have it with or without the support of the the political class.

“Nyerere once advised the CCM party, and I paraphrase, ‘(Kenyans) are looking for change and if they don’t get change through the political parties, they will look for it outside and outside the political parties and push their agenda outside the normal structures,” Governor Orengo said.

His sentiments came at a time when the political class, led by President Ruto and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga, is facing a backlash over the proposed multi-sectoral national dialogue aimed at addressing issues raised by the youth .

Governor Orengo believes the current Kenya Kwanza government is dysfunctional and should not remain in power.

“What the youth demonstrations showed was that knowingly it is difficult to do business with a government that does not serve your interest. Kenya’s Kwanza government poses an existential threat to the well-being of Kenyans and that is what has cost it its legitimacy,” said Governor Orengo .

He told Nation.Africa that there was no way in the history of Kenya, even during the colonial era, that protesters would have managed to break into Parliament and other important government buildings as happened a few weeks ago.

The Siaya County chief, and a close ally of Odinga, said the current call from the youth and Kenyans in general is not for reform but for revolution because they feel they are not being listened to.

“The language that Kenyans are now talking about is revolution because they feel that what this Kenya Kwanza government is implementing is half of the measures they should be doing, yet spend lavishly and brag about it. That is why Kenyans have a complete lack of confidence for President Ruto’s government,” Orengo said.

He also took a swipe at the head of state for accusing foreign nations of meddling and sponsoring the protests.

President Ruto had warned unnamed foreign powers of sponsoring chaos in Kenya.

“Ruto saying that foreign powers are behind the chaos is a tactic that has been used by the previous regimes and did not work. These youths are not asking for a state with a different image but one that respects the constitution and the rule of law,” said Orengo.

The Siaya County chief has also offered to represent two youths from Rongai – Joseph Ndung’u and Dennis Munini – who were arrested during the anti-government protests and charged with robbery.

“The police want to press false charges against these defenseless young Kenyan patriots for taking part in legal demonstrations. Being a governor does not stop me from chewing gum and climbing the stairs at the same time. I am addressing the cases,” said Orengo.

He added that abductions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and prosecutions and extrajudicial killings are characteristic of a repressive state.

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