Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Kenyan President Ruto Withdraws Bill After Deadly Protests – N.F Times

Kenyan President William Ruto on Wednesday, declared he will not sign the contentious finance bill, after the pressure from widespread protests that have engulfed the nation, resulting in at least 23 fatalities.

“Having reflected on the continuing conversation regarding the content of the Finance Bill 2024, and listening keenly to the people of Kenya who have said loudly that they want nothing to do with this Finance Bill 2024, I concede, and therefore I will not sign the 2024 finance bill,” Ruto said during a television address Wednesday.

Kenya, often commended for its stability, has been experiencing growing violent demonstrations against the bill, introduced by the government to curb public debt.

The government, last week, eliminated certain tax hikes, including a proposed 16% value-added tax on bread, as well as taxes on motor vehicles, vegetable oil, and mobile money transfers. However, these concessions failed to calm the protests, which have been fueled by the increasing cost of living.

The situation escalated to violence on Tuesday when security forces resorted to using teargas and live ammunition on the demonstrators.

In Nairobi, the capital city, tumultuous events unfolded with government buildings being set ablaze and a ceremonial mace stolen from the parliament amidst the chaos. Police clashed with protesters, leading to the evacuation of Kenyan lawmakers from the parliament building.

According to the Police Reforms Working Group (PRWG) in Kenya, a civil society group, the violence claimed the lives of at least 23 individuals.

These protests mark the most significant opposition to the bill yet, which was introduced by Ruto’s administration last month to generate additional revenue through new taxes. The government has defended the bill as a necessary measure to manage the country’s significant debt and finance projects such as road construction, rural electrification, and agricultural subsidies.

Also Read: Finance Bill Protest: Protesters Set Afire Part of Kenya’s Parliament

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