#RutoMustGo, Kenya tax protesters Insist


Nairobi, Kenya – Standoff Between Protesters and Police Amid Calls for President’s Resignation

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In Nairobi, a protester defiantly faces heavily armed riot police, clutching a water bottle to ease the effects of tear gas lingering in the air, affecting both sides of the conflict.

Throughout the past week in Kenya, scenes like these have repeated as enraged youth have taken to the streets to oppose a contentious tax bill that many argue would significantly raise prices of essential goods. President William Ruto, a proponent of the legislation, withdrew the bill on Wednesday evening, following a dramatic storming of Parliament by protesters.

Despite Ruto’s backtrack, public anger against his administration remains unabated. On Thursday, hundreds of demonstrators returned to the streets of Nairobi and other parts of the country, now demanding Ruto’s resignation.

The protests, which began in Nairobi, quickly spread across Kenya, with reports indicating demonstrations in 35 out of the country’s 47 counties, including Ruto’s home base of Uasin Gishu, where he enjoyed strong support during his election nearly two years ago.

However, the movement has come at a high cost for families across the nation.

“How do you explain this loss?”

Paul Tata, mourning the loss of his 20-year-old son Emmanuel, who died during the protests, lamented the abrupt end of his son’s promising future. Emmanuel suffocated from tear gas inhalation during the demonstrations, becoming one of many casualties in the unrest.

Human rights organizations report at least 23 deaths related to the protests, with hundreds more injured and treated in hospitals nationwide. In Mombasa, a mortician displayed the bodies of three men bearing gunshot wounds, underscoring the violent turn of events.

The protests initially gained momentum online, spearheaded by tech-savvy Kenyan youth using platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and X to mobilize against the Finance Bill 2024 proposed by Ruto’s government, which aimed to generate an additional $2.9 billion in revenue.

While the government cited the need to meet debt obligations and fund infrastructure projects, protesters argued that they were already overburdened by existing taxes, which included hikes on fuel, mobile money transfers, internet banking, sanitary products, and diapers.

Ruto’s Concession and Continuing Unrest

President Ruto’s decision to withdraw the bill did not assuage public discontent, with demonstrators continuing to demand his resignation, viewing his credibility as severely compromised.

“I am not afraid to die; many have died before us,” declared Andrew Ouko, echoing the sentiments of protesters determined to challenge what they perceive as entrenched political corruption and neglect.

Political analysts warn of significant legitimacy challenges for the government, highlighted by the storming of Parliament and subsequent policy reversals. They advocate for a national dialogue to address broader political and economic reforms necessary to quell unrest and stabilize the country.

As Kenya navigates this turbulent period, Ruto has announced austerity measures, including cuts to government hospitality and travel expenses, while economists caution that meeting international debt obligations without anticipated tax revenues will pose substantial challenges.

In the midst of mourning and ongoing protests, families like Tata’s grapple with the loss of loved ones, hopeful that their sacrifices will catalyze lasting change in Kenya’s political landscape.

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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