Gen Z leads protests against proposed Kenya tax hikes


Kenya protests

from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya Bureau
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – LITERALLY, Kenya is on fire, as protests led by youth bring the country to a standstill.

Deadly scuffles are amid the likely enactment of the controversial Finance Bill.

An individual has been killed, around 20 others injured and scores arrested during running battles between police and the agitated members of the public.

The restless youngsters, billed the Generation Z (Gen Z), have run amok over the proposed legislation that critics of the government argue would further erode the income of Kenyans already grappling with other taxes the administration of William Ruto has introduced since the Kenya Kwanza Alliance came to power in 2022.

“You have publicly expressed your displeasure with this dishonest and insensitive Kenya Kwanza regime whose primary purpose is to embezzle your hard-earned money,” former Vice President, Kalonzo Musyoka, lauded the youth.

“It is unfortunate that our state security officers, who should be safeguarding your, are engages in acts of intimidation, and when that spectacularly failed, reverted to the use of brutal force against you peacefully for exercising your constitutional rights to picket and demonstrate.”

Critics argue the abovementioned bill, if passed, would include increased taxes.

The acceleration of taxes is seen as a move by the administration to counter the national debt of East Africa’s economy, put at US$80 billion.

On Thursday, the capital Nairobi resembled a war zone as protesters, mostly youth (Gen Z are born 1995 and 2010), took to the streets and according to police, threatened to invade Parliament where legislators were voting on the divisive bill.

Participants gathered at various undisclosed locations within the city’s central business district at midday before marching to Parliament.

While Nairobi was the epicentre of the skirmishes, typically of nationals outrage, there were similar protests in movements in Eldoret, Isiolo, Kisumu, Nakuru and Nyeri.

In some areas, tyres were burnt in protest.

The next roud of protests are forecast for Tuesday.

Police are accused of using live ammunition but they resorted to teargas to thwart protestors on Thursday.

Meanwhile, in Parliament, a total of 204 members (MPs) voted in favour of passing the bill, against 115 who voted for its rejection.

A security think-tank warned protest would escalate, with political demonstrations in the East African country tending to draw several thousand participants.

“Authorities will almost certainly deploy an increased security presence in affected cities during the demonstrations,” it warned warned.

In Nairobi, there is increased security, particularly likely near Parliament.

Restrictions include road closures and checkpoints.

Localized transport and business disruptions are likely. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.

Police hinted at tightened crackdowns.

“With utmost respect to the provisions of Article 37 of the Constitution, stipulating the right of citizens to assemble, demonstrate and picket, the Service will neither condone nor approve efforts by demonstrators to occupy critical government infrastructure including Parliament Buildings or disrupt the ongoing Parliamentary proceedings.”

That is according to Police Inspector General, Japhet Koome.

The population of the region’s largest economy is estimated at around 56 million, with Gen Z the most populous at over 33 percent.

Ruto (57), Kenya’s “hustler-in-chief” before partaking politics, was elected in a poll some of his challengers claimed were rigged.

– CAJ News

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