News, articles and events

Angry youths Protest Over Punitive Tax
June 20, 2024
The message is clear: the future belongs to those who stand up and fight for it.

The rise of #OccupyParliament has marked a new chapter in Kenya’s history, as social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok dominate the conversation, amplifying the voices of young people across the nation. From the bustling streets of Nairobi to the quiet towns of Kisii, the youth have united in a powerful movement, challenging President Ruto’s punitive tax proposal on the Finance Bill 2024. This wave of protest, unprecedented in its scope and intensity, has lit a beacon of resistance, illuminating the frustration and determination of a generation.

In the heart of Nairobi, the capital, anti-riot police, some mounted on horseback, responded to the peaceful demonstrations with tear gas, Protesters chanting “Ruto must go!” and “Yote Ya Wezekana Bila Ruto.” The scene was echoed in cities and towns from Nakuru to Nyeri, Mombasa to Eldoret, Embu to Meru, Kericho to Kisii, and Kisumu, as the youth expressed their collective outrage against the oppressive finance bill.

Eldoret, President Ruto’s backyard, witnessed an extraordinary sight as hundreds marched, placards held high, demanding justice. In Nyeri, the air vibrated with the anger and frustration of young Kenyans, weary of the government’s relentless tax measures. “Tumechoka,” cried the youth in Kisii, their voices a testament to a generation’s discontent.

This uprising is unlike any other in Kenya’s history. It is a movement driven predominantly by the youth, determined to reclaim their future. Kiprono Mary, a 24-year-old protester in Nairobi, said,  “I dropped out of college as my parents couldn’t afford my education. I’m hustling to go back and now you want to take the little I make and make me not even buy sanitary pads?”

Despite the peaceful nature of these protests, the response from law enforcement has been excessively harsh. Human rights groups including Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi Ltd! and lawyers have condemned the police’s brutality, citing hundreds of arrests and the unwarranted use of force against peaceful demonstrators. These young protesters were only exercising their rights under Chapter One, Article One of the Constitution: “All the sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya.”

As the protests raged on, the youth felt a deep sense of betrayal by their Members Of Parliament as 204 members voted ‘YES’ to the finance bill, while only 115 stood against it. The young people, feeling abandoned by their MPs, have vowed to ignite change from the grassroots level.

The message is clear: the future belongs to those who stand up and fight for it.