July 15, 2024

Kenya: Thousands demonstrate against proposed tax increases

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In Kenya, thousands of Kenyans gathered in Nairobi and elsewhere this week to protest a bill that would increase taxes to pay for loans and development.

Apparently, demonstrations continued Thursday, even as the government announced it would scale back part of the proposed tax increases. Hundreds of protesters in Nairobi demanded lawmakers reject the 2024 Finance Bill, which increases taxes on different sectors of the economy. Some of these higher taxes are a result of infrastructure debt owed to China.

Hundreds more protested in President William Ruto’s hometown of Eldoret and the cities of Nyeri, Nakuru, Kisii, and Kisumu. The proposed taxes would increase the prices of diapers, tires, batteries, smartphones, and cameras. The government wants to increase the fuel levy by Kshs 9 (about UGX 290), which the bill’s sponsors say will be used to maintain damaged roads.

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The government has also introduced a so-called ecology levy, which it says is necessary to fight plastic pollution and protect the environment. Effie Muendo, who is protesting the proposed taxes, explained why she is against the bill.

“The finance bill is unconstitutional, and it’s very punitive to the people of Kenya,” she said. “Sixty-five percent of women cannot afford sanitary towels, and yet they want to tax them. They are telling us they want us to buy local brands, and yet local brands are not available. Many women cannot afford them already. When they tax them, how much will it be? So, they are really trying to mess with our dignity as women, and that is something we cannot allow.”

Remember, the Thursday protest went on for hours, and police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse demonstrators who occupied streets in central Nairobi.

However, some protesters were not happy with the police presence, which blocked them from accessing the parliament buildings.

One protester named Diana said she doesn’t understand why police are blocking them when they are fighting for a better Kenya.

“They are throwing tear gas at us; they are fighting us; they are beating us up. We are not at peace; we are peacefully demonstrating for our country because we love our country, Kenya,” she said.

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written by @enock katamba

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Mr. katamba Enock: Professional designer with experience in web designing who started this activity in 2019 at Kyambogo University after graduation . Contact me on : (+256-758287080)

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