Gunshots and Teargas: Youths take on Police as Kenyans protest in Nairobi over Punitive Taxation Bill

On Tuesday showdown loomed as Kenyans vowed to push Members of the National Assembly to reject sections of Kenya’s Finance Bill 2024, terming it oppressive in the current economic situation. Kenya’s capital Nairobi was rocked with sounds of gunshots and teargas smoke as police engaged with youthful protestors in a running battle for 12hours.

More than 200 protesters were arrested in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, as protests against proposed tax hikes in a finance bill that is due to be tabled in parliament took the center stage.

The morning of Tuesday despite being served with notices, Nairobi region Police Commander Adamson Bungei said that no group had been granted permission to protest in the capital. According to the Kenyan constitution, the right to peaceful protests is outlined, but organizers are required to notify the police at least 24hrs earlier. Police generally give a go-ahead unless there are security concerns.

On Tuesday Police hurled tear gas canisters at hundreds of youthful demonstrators in what was a new face of demonstrations. The Gen z had mobilized and was out to have their voices heard. A daring young Men and women showed up in hundreds chanting Article 37 of the Kenyan constitution that allows protest and picketing. In what was a revolution by the Kenyan youth, everything was planned and executed through rapid days of social media influence.

Tuesday’s Protests forced businesses to temporarily close because of fears over looting. However, it turned out to be a non-looting demonstration as hundreds of youths focused on having their voices heard.

In a bid to calm down the prevailing rising rebellion temperatures, some major tax proposals in the bill were dropped after a Tuesday morning meeting between ruling party (UDA) lawmakers and President William Ruto.

The chairperson of the finance committee, MP Kuria Kimani, said the proposal to introduce a proposed 2.5% motor vehicle annual tax that was to be placed on insurance was amended. Further, a 16% value-added tax on bread was announced to have been dropped. A proposed tax on goods that degrade the environment will also be amended to apply only to imported goods to encourage local manufacturing.

President William Ruto said in a speech at the State House he was “very happy” that the public had interrogated the proposed finance bill and “recommended through public participation their feelings, their ideas, their suggestions.”

Chris Sambu

Chris Sambu is a prominent Kenyan journalist renowned for his extensive coverage of African affairs, particularly in the realms of military and security. With a background as a seasoned researcher, Sambu brings a wealth of insight and expertise to his writing, providing readers with in-depth analysis and comprehensive reporting on complex geopolitical issues. Through his work, he strives to shed light on critical issues shaping the African continent and its global interactions.

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