Politics & Legal

Kenya’s President Reverses Decision on Controversial Finance Bill Following Day of Unrest

In a surprising turn of events, Kenyan President William Ruto has withdrawn his support for a controversial finance bill after widespread protests left 23 dead and 300 injured, including activist Auma Obama.

In a dramatic reversal, Kenyan President William Ruto has announced he will not sign a controversial finance bill that proposed significant tax increases for residents. This decision follows a day of violent protests where thousands of Kenyans stormed parliament, leading to 23 fatalities and 300 injuries as police employed tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the crowds. Among the injured was Auma Obama, Kenyan activist and half-sister of former U.S. President Barack Obama, who was hit with tear gas during a live CNN interview.

President Ruto addressed the nation on June 26, stating, “Listening keenly to the people of Kenya who have said loudly that they want nothing to do with this finance bill, I concede, and therefore, I will not sign the 2024 finance bill, and it shall subsequently be withdrawn.” This marked a notable shift from his earlier stance where he had labeled the protesters as “dangerous criminals” and accused them of treason, even deploying military and police forces to quell the demonstrations.

The unrest and subsequent withdrawal of the bill have highlighted the significant impact of public opinion and the power of protest in Kenya. Online, many praised the efforts of the young demonstrators. One Twitter user noted, “What the Youth of Kenya have done will go down in history. They never targeted a person per se but they made sure parliament doesn’t adopt a bill which has zero interest of the majority. RIP to those they lost but that was MASSIVE.”

The situation in Kenya remains tense as the nation mourns the loss of lives and the injured recover. The government’s response to future economic policies will likely be closely watched by both the public and international observers.

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