Ten weird characters in street demos

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Youth demonstrate in Nairobi during demos over Finance Bill 2024 that was due debate and voting in parliament.  [Denish Ochieng, Standard] 

Not all Kenyans have good intentions during maandamano. While many Kenyans genuinely agitate for a good cause in the political demonstrations, others look for opportunities to steal and commit mischievous acts. Here are 10 characters you will meet in any maandamano.

  1. The political fanatic

He is a diehard supporter of particular politician and will follow any directive issued by the  leader. If maandamano is announced, he will not go to work or business to heed the leader’s call. It doesn’t matter if the maandamano are held three days a week; he will ensure to attend them all.

  1. The hopeless one

For him, life is hopeless, and when demonstrations are called, he sees this as an opportunity to end his life. You will see him throwing stones at armed GSU officers at close range without care. 

  1. Idler

He is usually idle as the government is yet to avail any job opportunity for him. As such, he is ready to join the maandamano bandwagon.  He will be among the crew right from the time it starts at 8 am until 6 pm. Once the day ends, he will write on Facebook, “Day well spent fighting for our rights”. Three days of maandamano is a relief for him as it will keep him busy.

  1. The publicity seeker

He is always at the forefront of every maandamano bandwagon. When he sees a camera around, he is ready to pull out a publicity stunt just to be seen on TV during the evening news. When reporters are looking out for people to give witness or views on the subject of the day, he is more than eager and makes sure that the opinions are as controversial as possible.

  1. The mischievous dude

He is looking out to destroy things or cause chaos of some sort.  He doesn’t believe that any demonstration can be peaceful, and if there was one, it was not a demonstration. He is the kind to uproot the railway line and send government and private parties to loss.

  1. The genuine disciplined type

His participation in maandamo is genuine as he feels the pinch of high prices of commodities. Besides, he does not engage in uncouth behaviour such as looting or hulling obscenities to those concerned. As much as he wants to pass a message across, he ensures that he is orderly and avoids unnecessary confrontations.

  1. Coward

He is always at the back, and you will not find him at the front. He is also very keen to avoid danger or risk of any nature. Whenever he sees the police, he sneaks from the crow and disappears inside the slum. He can’t risk getting injured or losing his life over someone who will eat with a big spoon once there is a handshake agreement.

  1. The looter

For him, a maandamo is a good opportunity to loot or steal from the public. He constantly looks for the slightest confusion to exploit the situation and loot property. Since he has nothing at home, he intends to engage in maandamano to develop something.

  1. Content creator

He will follow through the proceedings and even actively participate in the demos, not for anything else but to get content for his social media channels. He will brave all the chaos and confrontations while going Live on his Youtube Channel. His goal is to get as many views as possible.

  1. The “tide/wave” follower

Just because he saw a group of people chanting “Haki Yetu”, he will join the bandwagon. This is irrespective of whether or not he understands what these people are fighting for.  He had no idea there would be demonstrations. 

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