Citizens across the country took to the streets to voice their opposition to the newly proposed Finance Bill 2024.

#RejectFinanceBill2024 Trends: How Kenyan Youth Leveraged Social Media for Powerful Resistance

By John Walubengo

In today’s interconnected world, digital tools have become essential for organizing social and political movements, but it seems the government of Kenya has not yet gotten the memo. Until the government finance bill 2024 ignited outrage among the youth, they leveraged these tools to orchestrate resistance marches with significant turnout. 

Here is a brief look at how social media platforms, messaging apps, and possibly crowdfunding platforms were instrumental in their efforts.

Twitter  used to amplify the message

On X formerly Twitter, the youth quickly mastered creating viral hashtags to unify their message. By developing a catchy hashtag, they made it easy for people to track updates related to the movement, as this hashtag appeared in every relevant tweet.

Additionally, they engaged key influencers and celebrities to tweet their support, which significantly extended the movement’s reach and added credibility. Organizers also utilized X for real-time updates, sharing live information on protest plans, locations, and progress, thereby keeping participants informed and motivated.

For example,  when organizing the march, the hashtag #RejectFinanceBill2024 trended nationwide, helping to rally support and disseminate information quickly.

Facebook with a sense of community

On Facebook, organizers focused on building a sense of community and coordinating events. They set up event pages with detailed information about the date, time, and meeting points for marches, which served as central hubs for sharing updates and logistical details.

Facebook groups provided a platform for supporters to discuss their thoughts, share ideas, and offer emotional support to one another. 

Instagram/TikTok and visual storytelling

On Instagram and TikTok, the movement harnessed the power of visual storytelling. Instagram Stories provided real-time updates, and key moments were saved as highlights, allowing newcomers to easily catch up on the movement’s progress.

Supporters were encouraged to share their photos and videos, fostering a sense of participation and ownership. Additionally, engaging posts featuring high-quality graphics and videos were used to inform and motivate followers, effectively leveraging Instagram’s visual appeal to strengthen the movement.

A powerful image from the protest went viral on Instagram and TikTok, drawing international attention and media coverage.

WhatsApp/Messaging Apps: Coordinating and Mobilizing

On WhatsApp, group coordination was key to the movement’s organization. WhatsApp groups facilitated seamless communication among various teams handling logistics, media, and safety.

Broadcast lists were used to send important updates to many participants simultaneously, ensuring everyone stayed informed. The platform’s instant messaging capabilities allowed for quick decisions and rapid dissemination of information, making it an invaluable tool for the organizers.

Quick coordination through WhatsApp and other messaging Apps ensured that all participants knew the exact meeting points and routes, minimizing confusion.

Crowdfunding Platforms: Fuelling the Movement

Whereas the first days of this resistance may have been spontaneous, free and exciting for the youth, it will eventually fade out without funding and logistical support.

Beyond the traditional M-PESA platform, other online platforms like GoFundMe, may be used to offer transparent fundraising opportunities. The platforms allow for detailed campaign pages that provide clear explanations of how the funds would be used, including expenses like medical or legal fees, T-shirts, Water supplies, transportation and other logistics. 

It can provide regular updates on fundraising progress to help maintain momentum and build trust among supporters. Additionally, supporters were encouraged to share the campaign on their social networks, thereby broadening its reach and increasing contributions.

However, if the resistance persists, the government may be tempted to get more autocratic and start tracking and profiling the contributors and the recipients. If and when this happens, one would expect the youth to also go underground and start using cryptocurrencies as their preferred form of crowdfunding.

By strategically leveraging these digital tools, the youth were able to organize effectively, mobilize massive turnout, and sustain their resistance against the controversial finance bill. This blend of real-time communication, community building, and transparent fundraising demonstrated the transformative potential of digital activism, illustrating how everyday technology can power significant social change.

The traditional #Resistance game has been changed by the GenZ and it remains to be seen how the government will respond.

John Walubengo is an ICT Lecturer and Consultant. @jwalu.



David Indeje information

Related Posts

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.