The Trouble With Youth

Ones youth is a time like no other that bridge between child hood and irresponsibility and adulthood. Some may approach this time with maturity and common sense eager to make a smooth untroubled transition where as others see this time as one last chance and passport to lose the compass and life map one last time. This lot were perhaps the motley crew that took to the streets of an otherwise peaceful peace loving Mombasa City on Monday to protest the killing of Sheikh Aboud  Rogo Mohamed  over the weekend.

Having no clues as to who sleighed the well known Al shabab sympathiser the mostly young mourners took to the streets to demonstrate their displeasure at the polices’ speed- lack their of- in solving the killing.

Now there’s absolutely no problem with a group choosing to protest all that they see as wrong with the world they live in, in fact this mostly peaceful method of civil mass action has been a common and effective means to an end for many groups of disgruntled citizens in the past. The problem occurs when this so called protest escalates into full blown violence where both police and ordinary citizens lose not only their valuables but more importantly, their lives. This is what happened on Monday and Tuesday this week when certain parts of the city became no go zones and Mombasa seemed to be ‘burning’. Then on Wednesday all seemed to have calmed down and finally the police seemed to have won the battle to restore order when late that evening the youth decided to again make their point clear as the tossed yet another grenade at a church. The high alert and frayed nerves that had begun to calm saw a resurgence as those that could stayed as far away from the CBD on Thursday.

What is perhaps most upsetting to me and no doubt many Kenyans is how some of these ‘mournful’ youths who had perhaps –as the older generation would say- taken leave of all their senses and saw within the panic and chaos the opportune moment to loot and rob businesses, homes and passersby hoping to make for themselves the best or at least some sort of profit from the misfortune of others.

With most of the errant protesters cum looters being so young- from 15-20- one has to ask a most obvious question: where were their parents in all this, have today’s parents lost control/track of what their idle teens are up to. On the other hand and to be even handed I must ask whether it really is the parents fault or if it can be calked down to mob psychology and a strong pier influence/a strong desire to fit into whatever crowd is popular.

This past week has also brought up the old questions of security and more to the point the internal security and safety of all Kenyans. Which it must be said has been paper thin and week at best as during the past four or five years we have either been bombed and grenade attacked by the ever persistent and unyielding ever recruiting terrorists of Al Shabab and from the inside when ordinary citizens have turned on each other for reasons of tribal differences, one needs just to look at Tana River, Wajir and Mandera to see what devastation tribalism caused this past week and indeed every time it rears its familiar head. One doesn’t have to be a genius to see that the President-who still remains mum- and his government must beef up not only  their personal security (the president is in Mombasa to open the annual Agricultural Show) but that of ordinary Kenyans.

So as we wile away this Friday, in constant contact with those who had no choice but to venture intrepidly into the City waiting perhaps for the moment when the other shoe will drop and hoping it never does we look stone faced and demanding answers and that the government protects the lives of not only the police that work for them-another area in which they have failed-but also those whose hard work makes the nation what is: the wanainchi.

                                                        The man all the rioting is for:


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