Kenya Big News : At least 39 killed in Kenya’s anti-tax protests, says rights watchdog

Kenya Big News
Kenya Big News

Kenya| Kenya Big News : At least 39 people have been killed and hundreds more injured in anti-government demonstrations in Kenya, the national rights watchdog has said, as activists geared up for a new round of protests this week.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

Kenya Big News : The toll announced by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) is almost double the figure previously disclosed by the authorities for those killed while contesting a set of unpopular tax increases that have now been withdrawn.

Kenya Big News : “Data from our records indicates that 39 people have died and 361 [have been] injured in relation to the protests countrywide,” the state-funded body said in a statement, adding that the figures covered the period from 18 June to 1 July.

It also said there had been 32 cases of “enforced or involuntary disappearances” and 627 arrests of protesters.

Kenya Big News : anti-tax rallies – led by mostly gen

Kenya Big News : The largely peaceful anti-tax rallies – led by mostly gen Z protesters – descended into scenes of deadly violence last Tuesday when lawmakers passed the contentious legislation.

After the vote was announced, crowds ransacked the parliament complex in central Nairobi and it was partly set ablaze as police fired live bullets at protesters. It is the most serious crisis to confront president William Ruto since he took office in September 2022, after a deeply divisive election in a nation often considered a beacon of stability in a turbulent region.

“The commission continues to condemn in the strongest terms possible the unwarranted violence and force that was inflicted on protesters, medical personnel, lawyers, journalists and on safe spaces such as churches, medical emergency centres and ambulances,” the KNCHR said.

“We maintain that the force used against the protesters was excessive and disproportionate.”

It also said it “strongly condemns the violent and shocking acts of lawlessness that was exhibited by some of the protesters” including at the parliament and other government buildings.

Kenya Big News : Kenyan authorities were taken by surprise

The Kenyan authorities were taken by surprise after small rallies against the tax increases gathered momentum, with thousands of people taking to the streets.

Fresh protests have been called by activists starting from Tuesday, despite Ruto announcing last week that he would not sign into law the bill containing the tax hikes.

Kenya Big News : Leaflets have been posted on social media with the hashtags “Occupy Everywhere”, “Ruto must go” and “Reject Budgeted Corruption”.

The president said in a television interview on Sunday that 19 people had died in the protests, but insisted he did not have “blood on my hands”, and pledged an investigation into the deaths.

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Kenya’s cash-strapped government had said previously that the tax increases were necessary to service the huge public debt of 10tn shillings (£60bn), equal to roughly 70% of GDP.

Kenya Big News : The International Monetary Fund has urged the country to implement fiscal reforms in order to access crucial funding from the lender.

Ruto had already rolled back some tax measures after the protests began, prompting the treasury to warn of a gaping budget shortfall of 200bn shillings.

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