Ruto withdraws Finance Bill after mass protests in Kenya

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NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya's President William Ruto conceded to pressure from young people and declined to sign the Finance Bill 2024 into law, automatically giving room for a situation where the country ought to live within its means by minimizing expenditure and/or borrowing more to cure the budget deficit.

The Bill sought to seek an additional $2.7 billion, but the people rejected the move, even after parliament passed the legislation on Tuesday. However following mass protests, President William Ruto was forced to withdraw the bill, hours after the military was brought in to assist the police to maintain law and order.

A dejected Ruto mourned the loss of lives while conceding that his government will have to forgo several projects this coming financial year due to budget constraints. He acknowledged that most punitive taxes had been withdrawn before Parliament passed the bill.

“listening keenly to the people of Kenya who have said loudly they want nothing to do with the finance bill 2024, I concede and therefore will not sign the bill&it shall therefore be withdrawn and I have agreed with MP that it becomes our collective decision," he said.

“I send condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this unfortunate manner.”

Going forward, he added, the government will listen to the young people and stakeholders on matters of budgeting, noting that there is a need for all arms of government to implement austerity measures to bridge the gap from budget deficits.

Those who died, he said: "They will be accounted for. There was no need to lose lives in that manner. When I took over, I promised that there would be no extrajudicial killings and this is something I am committed to despite the unfortunate events yesterday. "

Before his presser, parliament had approved the deployment of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in various hot spots of violence, a move which was challenged in the court. The courts stopped deployment until the case filed is heard and determined.

He said his team will have to drop various development projects besides reducing spending, including the confidential expenditure and money meant to purchase vehicles. The young protesters made their way into the parliament building on Tuesday.

GAROWE ONLINE

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