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Anti-Finance Bill Protests Begin in Major Towns Amid Heavy Police Deployment.

The streets of major towns in Kenya are now filled with crowds chanting slogans against the 2024 Finance Bill. As Members of Parliament are set to begin debating the contentious tax proposals, Kenyans in Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru, and Nyeri took to the streets early Thursday morning.

In Kisumu, youths gathered at the Kondele roundabout, carrying placards and blowing whistles in protest of the Finance Bill. In Nairobi, a heavy police presence has been witnessed, with roads leading to Parliament barricaded. The protests occur amid calls for restraint by the police, who have been asked to protect the protesters.

On Tuesday, Nairobi played host to a major protest dubbed “Occupy Parliament,” as Kenyans urged MPs to reject the Finance Bill. What began as online activism led the Kenya Kwanza government to make amendments to the Finance Bill, scrapping some of the contentious tax proposals.

The Bill was amended to remove the proposed 16% VAT on bread, transportation of sugar, financial services, foreign exchange transactions, and the 2.5% Motor Vehicle Tax. Additionally, there will be no increase in mobile money transfer fees, and the Excise Duty on vegetable oil has also been removed.

In response, President William Ruto stated that the ongoing protests will not cripple the decision-making process by relevant institutions. “Civil society is free to do what they want to do; those who want to demonstrate, they can demonstrate, it is their right, no problem, but decisions have to be made by institutions,” said Ruto on Wednesday.


Article By Suzy Nyongesa.


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