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JUST IN: Kenyan president bows to pressure, dumps Finance Bill amid deadly protests

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JUST IN: Kenyan president bows to pressure, dumps Finance Bill amid deadly protests

William Ruto, the president of Kenya, has at a press conference on Wednesday, announced that his government will no longer implement the controversial Finance Bill after it led to widespread protests in the country.

Ruto also announced drastic reduction in the cost of governance, starting from the presidency, including an embargo on purchase of vehicles for government officials.

The president equally promised that there will no longer be extra judicial Killings in the country, while assuring that the six people killed – some reports have suggested that those killed are much more – will be accounted for.

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The finance bill was meant to raise or introduce taxes or fees on a range of daily items and services including internet data, fuel, bank transfers and diapers. Some measures were stripped as anger grew. The proposals are part of the Kenyan government’s efforts to raise an extra $2.7 billion in domestic revenue.

The government had said the changes are necessary to pay interest on national debt, reduce the budget deficit and keep the government running. Protesters see them as punitive, since the high cost of living already makes it hard to get by.

A 2023 finance bill signed into law by Ruto was also unpopular, featuring a tax on salaries for housing, but the anger was nothing like this.

Young Kenyans have been organizing on social media, organizing peaceful street demonstrations meant to force authorities to drop this finance bill altogether. The protests started on June 18 after the bill was made public for the first time.

The protests began in Nairobi but have spread to other parts of Kenya, including the Indian Ocean city of Mombasa and even in Eldoret, a town in the Rift Valley region that’s been a bastion of support for the president.

Kenya’s political opposition stormed out of Tuesday’s session in which the bill was passed.

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