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Kenyan president walks back tax hike plan in wake of deadly protests

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On Wednesday, June 26, Kenyan President William Ruto bowed to pressure from activists, reversing controversial planned tax hikes on some basic necessities. This comes a day after protesters stormed Kenya’s parliament headquarters on Tuesday, June 25, which led to violent clashes with police and killed at least 23 people, while leaving scores more injured.

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Ruto announced that he would not be signing a finance bill, which would have included tax increases on basic necessities for Kenyans.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Ruto said he was “listening keenly to the people of Kenya who have said loudly that they want nothing to do with this finance bill 2024.”

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As Straight Arrow News previously reported, the controversial legislation would have raised $2.7 billion in revenue for the Kenyan government to address the country’s debt.

However, Ruto has now promised to reduce the national debt, starting with cuts to the budget of the presidency. Additionally, Ruto said that he will open a discussion with the youth-led protest movement. He did not provide details on the dialogue.

Ruto’s promises didn’t appear to quell the unrest among many Kenyans. Leaders of the “7 Days of Rage” vowed further action in the streets and demanded that Ruto step down.

Government critics have said that greed, corruption and mismanagement of money by politicians have hurt the economy and ordinary people shouldn’t foot the bill for the national debt.

Meanwhile, Kenyan Vice President Rigathi Gachagua urged activists to call off any further protests to avoid more death and destruction. The vice president also blamed intelligence agencies for the security failures that led to protesters breaching government chambers.

Gachagua also called for the resignation of the head of Kenya’s national intelligence service.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

A DAY AFTER PROTESTERS STORMED PARLIAMENT– LEADING TO VIOLENT CLASHES WITH POLICE AND NEARLY TWO DOZEN DEATHS AND SCORES INJURED– KENYAN PRESIDENT WILLIAM RUTO BOWED TO PRESSURE FROM ACTIVISTS.

REVERSING CONTROVERSIAL PLANNED TAX HIKES.

RUTO ANNOUNCED HE WOULD NOT BE SIGNING A FINANCE BILL, WHICH INCLUDED TAX INCREASES ON BASIC NECESSITIES. 

HE SAID HE WAS:

“LISTENING KEENLY TO THE PEOPLE OF KENYA WHO HAVE SAID LOUDLY THAT THEY WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS FINANCE BILL.”

AS STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS REPORTED, THE CONTROVERSIAL LEGISLATION WOULD HAVE RAISED TWO-POINT-SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS IN REVENUE TO ADDRESS THE COUNTRY’S DEBT.

NOW, RUTO PROMISES TO REDUCE THE NATIONAL DEBT– STARTING WITH CUTS TO THE BUDGET OF THE PRESIDENCY.

RUTO ADDED HE WILL OPEN DISCUSSIONS WITH THE YOUTH-LED MOVEMENT– BUT DIDN’T PROVIDE DETAILS.

HIS WORDS DIDN’T SEEM TO QUELL THE UNREST.

LEADERS OF THE “7 DAYS OF RAGE” VOWED FURTHER ACTION IN THE STREETS AND DEMANDED RUTO STEP DOWN. GOVERNMENT CRITICS SAY GREED, CORRUPTION AND MISMANAGEMENT BY POLITICIANS HAVE HURT THE ECONOMY AND ORDINARY PEOPLE SHOULDN’T FOOT THE BILL.

THE VICE PRESIDENT URGED ACTIVISTS TO CALL OFF ANY FURTHER PROTESTS TO AVOID MORE DEATH AND DESTRUCTION. 

AND BLAMED INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES FOR THE SECURITY FAILURES LEADING TO PROTESTERS RUSHING INTO GOVERNMENT CHAMBERS– THE VICE PRESIDENT CALLING FOR THE RESIGNATION OF THE HEAD OF KENYA’S NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE.

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