By: Kimani Nyoike, Fight Inequality Alliance Kenya National Coordinator

As the world focuses its attention on the prestigious Davos meeting, more important events in the fight against inequality will be unfolding as Fight Inequality Alliance Kenya hosts the Week of Action to Fight Inequality. This time around, The Global Protest in Kenya begins with the People’s Assemblies in various regions including Kiambu, Nairobi, Kakamega, Vihiga, Nakuru and Isiolo and culminating in the Usawa Festival in Nairobi on the 18th January 2024.

This week of action brings together a powerful gathering of community voices; and these are not just a mere act of dissent; the “Better Than Davos” people’s barazas (people’s gathering) kick-starts FIA Kenya members’ drive to have Kenyan people come together to voice their concerns and aspirations in the face of global challenges.

Kenya, like many other nations across the globe, has faced its share of socio-economic and political challenges. From colonial rule to post-independence struggles, electoral and ethnic violence, the Kenyan people have persevered through adversity. In recent years, issues such as corruption, inequality, and environmental degradation have fuelled a sense of urgency among the population. The Global Protest in Kenya coinciding with the week of Davos provides a platform for citizens to make their voices heard, and to demand accountability and change.

The Global Protest in Kenya: Unveiling the Power of Collective Voice

The Why: Catalysts for Collective Action

Economic Disparities
Kenya, despite its significant economic growth, grapples with widening inequalities. The activities this year will seek to address this issue by leading grassroots mobilisation advocating for fair distribution of resources, improved job opportunities, and demand workable measures to uplift marginalised communities. It is possible for economic reforms that create a more inclusive society and contribute to overall national development and minimise disparities between the poor and the wealthy.

Environmental Concerns
As the global community grapples with the impacts of climate change, Kenyans are acutely aware of the environmental challenges facing their nation and the potential impact not taking action poses for future generations. The People’s Assemblies also act as opportunities for demanding action for ecological justice, urging both national and international leaders to listen to the people for sustainable practices, conservation efforts, and green initiatives.

Political Accountability
Corruption and lack of transparency have been prevalent challenges in Kenya's political, economic and social landscape. The Week of Action Protest in Kenya demands accountability from leaders, pushing for ethical governance, anti-corruption measures, and a commitment to the rule of law and envision a political system that truly serves the interests of the people.

Social Justice
Kenya, a nation characterised by its rich diversity encompassing various ethnic groups and cultures, faces multifaceted challenges, including a shrinking civic space, inadequately funded public services, overtaxation of the poor, a mounting debt problem, and a surge in the prevalence of wealthy individuals increasingly using tax havens to hide ill-gotten wealth. These challenges contribute to a complex socio-economic landscape and subsequently driving inequalities.

Activists in Kenya acknowledge the importance of social harmony and inclusivity, and are addressing the pervasive issues of discrimination and prejudice. Notably, tribalism and nepotism remain of significant concern in Kenya. The people’s assemblies provide the opportunity to challenge divisive practices, confronting the obstacles head-on and cultivating a society whereby every individual is not only valued but also provided with a platform to be heard.

The How: Uniting Voices for Impact

Strategically, FIA Kenya’s organising begins at the grassroots level, engaging community leaders, activists, and ordinary citizens to collaborate and to raise awareness about the issues at hand. The town hall meetings, social media campaigns, and local gatherings make up the Fight Inequality Alliance Kenya’s strategy to gain momentum and to create a groundswell of support.

Grassroots to Global Mobilization
The Global Protest in Kenya is not an isolated event as it is part of a broader global movement. Activists in Kenya are leveraging international networks towards shared experiences, strategies, and resources. Enhancing this interconnectedness amplifies the potential global impact of the week of action, and garners support from a diverse range of individuals and organisations worldwide.

While the protesters are passionate about their cause, FIA Kenya emphasises the importance of peaceful advocacy. The mobilisation in different counties and nationally provides a platform for dialogue rather than confrontation through encouraging open communication between citizens and leaders. This approach seeks to bridge gaps, fostering understanding and cooperation for sustainable change.

What We Hope to Achieve

International Attention
By organising the protest to coincide with the week of Davos, the intention is to capture the attention of global leaders and influencers. The hope is that the world will take notice of the challenges facing countries such as Kenya and the global south and lend support to the efforts for positive change.

Policy Reforms
The protest aims to influence policy decisions at both the national and international levels. By presenting concrete demands and solutions, the protesters aspire to inspire legislative changes that address economic disparities, environmental concerns, political accountability, and social justice issues.

Empowerment of Citizens
Above all, The Global Protest in Kenya aims to empower ordinary citizens to become agents of change. Through collective action, the protesters hope to inspire a sense of civic responsibility and engagement, fostering a society where individuals actively participate in shaping their future.

The Global Protest in Kenya is more than a momentary expression of discontent; it is a testament to the determination of the Kenyan people to change the course of the river. By organising during the week of Davos, FIA Kenya strategically positions itself on the global stage, demanding attention and action. The hope is that this collective voice will not only bring about positive changes within Kenya but will also resonate across borders, inspiring a wave of transformative movements worldwide.

Join the Movement

Join Fight Inequality Alliance Kenya’s actions began with the People’s Assemblies in Vihiga on 11th January 2024, Kiambu and Kakamega on 12th January 2024, Nakuru, Nairobi and Isiolo on the 13th January 2024. In these areas, social movements, community organisations convened County Assemblies to organise around the four Usawa demands: Taxing the rich, funding public services, cancelling sovereign debts and abolishing tax havens. These culminate in the national Peoples’ Assembly and Usawa Festival in Nairobi on Thursday 18 January. Join us in person on Thursday or share our demands and activities on social media using #FightInequality and #UsawaKenya.