Kenyan President William Ruto has Withdrawn the Contentious Finance Bill Following Protests


Kenyan President William Ruto on Wednesday withdrew the contentious finance bill that lawmakers voted to pass on Tuesday, which would have significantly increased taxes. This decision came after police fired live rounds at protesters attempting to storm Kenya’s Parliament, resulting in several deaths.

“I concede,” Ruto said, announcing the bill’s withdrawal. “Listening keenly to the people of Kenya who have said loudly that they want nothing to do with this finance bill 2024, I will not sign it, and it shall subsequently be withdrawn.”

Ruto also promised to start a dialogue with the youth and consider austerity measures. However, some protesters, demanding Ruto’s resignation, vowed to resume rallies. “The arrogance is gone, but the lies are still there,” one demonstrator said on social media.

At least 23 people were killed nationwide in Wednesday clashes, according to medics.

Vice President Rigathi Gachagua urged young people to call off the protests to prevent further loss of life and property damage. He also criticized the intelligence services for providing the government with poor advice.

The withdrawal of the bill is seen as a major victory for the week-old, youth-led protest movement, which began with online condemnations of tax hikes and evolved into mass rallies demanding a political overhaul. This marks the most serious crisis of Ruto’s two-year-old presidency.

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