• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Gen Z protester shot dead as Kenya’s Finance Bill passes second reading

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Kenya’s National Assembly passed the controversial Finance Bill 2024 in a second reading on Thursday.

This happened as police shot dead, one of the young people protesting against the tax hike bill on the streets of Kenya.

The victim is identified as Rex Kanyike Masai, a local news platform, Tuko News, reported.

Thousands of Gen Z demonstrators have been protesting the bill’s punitive measures since Tuesday.

The bill aims to raise revenue through new taxes, but many Kenyans fear it will burden them further.

Clashes erupted in Nairobi as protesters, mainly the youths, voiced their opposition. They accused police of using excessive force with tear gas and water cannons.

“Why the violence? We’re peaceful!” yelled a protester amidst tear gas fumes. “This is why Ruto must go!”

Opposition MPs criticised the government’s disregard for public concerns.

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino called the violence a sign of the government’s approach, while Starehe MP Amos Mwago condemned the police brutality.

Despite the protests, the bill advanced. Proponents argue that taxes are necessary to fund development projects and bridge the budget deficit.

“While we understand the concerns of our fellow Kenyans, it is important to recognize the need for these tax measures,” said Kimani Kuria, Chair of the National Assembly Finance Committee.

“We have made significant amendments to address the public’s concerns, and we believe this bill will ultimately benefit the country.”

President William Ruto urged MPs to pass the bill, citing its importance for funding teacher and doctor recruitments, as well as the school feeding program.

The opposition coalition, Azimio La Umoja, vows to continue fighting the bill. They argue it unfairly targets the poor and doesn’t address Kenya’s economic issues.

“The fight is far from over,” said Azimio La Umoja leader Raila Odinga. “We will continue to mobilize and stand with the people of Kenya to ensure that their voices are heard and their interests protected.”