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‘I concede’ – Ruto withdraws Finance Bill 2024

President William Ruto on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, declined to assent to the controversial Finance Bill 2024, after it was presented to him following its passage through the National Assembly.

Ruto, who cancelled some of the events of Wednesday, June 26, 2024, refused to make the bill into law.

Ruto said the Finance bill targeted revenue collection of Ksh346 billion had been reduced to Ksh200 billion after undergoing public participation.

“Consequently, I concede to the will of the people of Kenya who have said they want nothing to do with the Finance Bill 2024 and say, that I will not sign it into law,” Ruto said.

He thanked legislators who voted in favour of the bill, saying they incorporated the views of the people in reducing the target by Ksh146 billion.

The bill was passed on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, after 195 members of Parliament voted in favour and 106 against with three abstentions.

In a record time, Parliament approved the controversial bill as protesters engaged police in running battles outside Parliament and Nairobi city streets with the hope that President Ruto would sign it into law.

The bill was adopted with amendments including the scrapping of the motor vehicle tax, and removal of VAT on bread and financial services but other taxes like the Railway development levy remained at 2.5 per cent on customs value and 3.5 per cent for the import declaration fee.

Finance Bill 2024 protests

The proposed tax measures by the Finance and National Planning Committee of the National Assembly have plunged the country into widespread demonstrations that have resulted in the death of several protesters with hundreds more injured.

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The protests boiled over on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, after a section of the demonstrators made true their intention to occupy parliament, sending MPs scampering for safety.

Protesters storm the Parliament building on Tuesday, June 25, 2024. PHOTO/ @Winnie_Odinga/X.

A decision had to be made to evacuate the visibly shaken members of Parliament through a tunnel that links the two legislative houses to the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).

During the melee, the protesters destroyed Parliament’s garden square and the lounge area. The maze was also stolen in the invasion that saw police officers shoot dead several people along Parliament Road.

Ruto warning

President Ruto would address the nation in a 9 pm press conference at State House, saying the state would pursue the demonstrators who invaded some government infrastructure.

He called the riots treasonous, saying the State would mobilise all resources in its capacity to ensure that a repeat of the same does not occur.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale sent out a gazette notice indicating that the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) had been instructed to help the police restore peace and order.

Parliament has since ratified the decision to deploy KDF soldiers internally to work in collaboration with police officers to restore calm in the country.

Protesters have maintained they want the whole of Finance Bill 2024 rejected and not amended. A similar protest is scheduled to occur on Thursday, June 27, 2024, amid a conspicuous military presence in Nairobi city.

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