Kenyan president withdraws controversial tax bill amid deadly protests

Written by on June 26, 2024

A protester lobs back a teargas canister at police during a nationwide strike to protest against tax hikes and the Finance Bill 2024 in downtown Nairobi, on June 25, 2024. (Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — In a major turn of events, Kenyan President William Ruto announced Wednesday afternoon from the State House in Nairobi, Kenya, that he is withdrawing the contentious 2024 finance bill.

The bill rocked the East African nation, sparking huge protests nationwide over the past two weeks that turned deadly on Tuesday. At least 23 people were killed and more than 300 injured, according to Amnesty International.

Ruto said he had “reflected” and listened “keenly” to the people of Kenya. He said he concedes, and will not sign the bill.

“The people have spoken,” said Ruto, adding the government has listened to calls from the public for the government to make concessions.

The controversial legislation was aimed at raising $2.7 billion in revenue to alleviate debt and reduce borrowing. Critics argue corruption and greed at the hands of Kenya’s politicians have stolen money from the economy and that ordinary people should not be the ones to pay the price.

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