Kenyan President William Ruto dissolves 47 state agencies and cuts the budget for the office of the First Lady

In response to widespread protests, President William Ruto took significant austerity measures on Friday, including eliminating budgets for the offices of Kenya’s first and second ladies.

In a live broadcast, President Ruto announced the dissolution of 47 state agencies and the suspension of non-essential travel for officials. He also revealed a 50% reduction in the number of government advisors.

“The operations of the offices of the first lady, second lady, and the wife of the prime cabinet secretary will be removed,” Ruto stated.

Ruto further declared that all non-essential travel by state and public officers is suspended. “No state officer or public servant will participate in harambee,” he added, referring to community fundraising events.

In line with the promised austerity measures, Ruto announced the dissolution of 47 state corporations with overlapping and duplicating functions, with affected staff to be transferred to other ministries.

For three weeks, protests against the Finance Bill have rocked Kenya, disrupting commercial activities. The demonstrations, which began on June 18, escalated as protesters defied police using tear gas, water cannons, and live ammunition.

Footage of police firing live rounds at protesters, along with images of bullet shells and deceased demonstrators, has sparked global outrage. Amnesty International has accused Ruto of deploying snipers to shoot protesters and has called for his trial at the International Criminal Court.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reported 39 fatalities, hundreds of injuries, and over 30 enforced disappearances, condemning the police’s “excessive and disproportionate force.”

Migori County Governor Ochillo Ayacko also criticized the police for using brute force against anti-Finance Bill protesters, shooting some in the back as they fled.

In an interview on Sunday night, Ruto denied any responsibility for the bloodshed, pushing back against criticisms that he allowed police violence before withdrawing the controversial bill.

Earlier, Kenyan authorities had declared several anti-Finance Bill protesters wanted as the demonstrations entered their third week.

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