No Pre-Drinking: 10 Rules For Kenyans Attending ‘Occupy Parliament’ Protests

No Pre-Drinking: 10 Rules For Kenyans Attending 'Occupy Parliament' Protests
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The proposed bill contains clauses which, if implemented, could put more strain on Kenyans budgeting their hard-earned income/salary.

For a few days, Kenyans have been taking to social media to call for peaceful demonstrations against the Finance Bill 2024, which proposes a slew of even tougher tax measures than the Finance Bill 2023.

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The proposed bill contains clauses which, if implemented, could put more strain on Kenyans budgeting their hard-earned income/salary.

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Kenyans united under hashtags #RejectFinanceBill2024, #TokeaTuesday and #OccupyParliament to push Members of Parliament to shoot down the contentious bill, the move mainly fronted by human rights activist, Boniface Mwangi.

Boniface Mwangi at Kisumu International Airport. /BONIFACE MWANGI.FACEBOOK

However, those attending the protests planned for Tuesday, June 18 have to follow 10 rules as stipulated in the Code of Conduct shared by the activist on Monday, June 17 ahead of the protests (in his words):

Code of Conduct For ‘Occupy Parliament’ Protests

1. Stay cool, especially when harassed. You are an ambassador for peace

2. Comply with the instructions of Occupy Parliament march organisers. No one has been paid to attend the demonstration.

3. No alcohol or pre-drinking. No violence. No weapons. No destruction or vandalism. The march to parliament is a peaceful event.

4. Do NOT use threatening or abusive words or behave in a threatening manner towards others passing close to the march.

5. Do NOT damage property, either deliberately or recklessly.

6. Beware of agent provocateurs -The agent provocateur may be a paid agent enlisted by politicians or their surrogates to incite people, or do things that may cause a breach of the peace- alert the police if you notice suspicious behaviour. There will be police present at the march to Parliament.

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7. If police throw tear gas or threaten us, don’t run. We shall stick together at all times and we shall leave the march together after we deliver our message. If you’re requested by the march organisers to sit down, please do. If we get dispersed, run, regroup, and find others to march with. Don’t simply go home before our objective is met.

8. Do NOT prevent, or attempt to prevent, a police officer from carrying out their duties as long as the officer doesn’t infringe on your right according to Article 37 “Every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities.”

9. Bring a friend, don’t walk alone. Document, and share your location with your family, and friends.

10. Emergency number: Hotline 0716 200 100. In case of an arrest, notify that number via text, name, location of arrest, and if possible which station the police have taken you. We shall have lawyers in every Nairobi Police Station to secure your release.

More importantly, protesters were urged to stay safe and not forget the cause, opposing the Finance Bill 2024.

The activist affirmed that protest notification letters were delivered to the police on Saturday, June 15 ahead of the march, confirming that “Police commanders met this morning, and promised to respect our right to protest, and will be there to keep the peace, and escort us.”

Key meeting points for the protests were revealed as follows;

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  1. ⁠Ambassadeur/Archives 
  2. ⁠Nation Centre
  3. ⁠Supreme Court
  4. Skate Park, Taifa Road
  5. Kencom Stage – City Hall Way 

“Starting time: 11:00 am. Come early to town, and just walk around, see what’s happening. The main route for the protest: Harambee Avenue.

“Wear black, carry a whistle/vuvuzela, a placard with a message to your MP, and drinking water,” Mwangi added.

The public dissent came days after MPs engaged Kenyans in a public participation exercise, collecting their views on the controversial Finance Bill 2024.

The online noise has since pushed the Parliamentary Budget Committee led by Molo MP Kuria Kimani to consider removing the much-deplored Motor Vehicle Tax, as well as the Eco Levy, excise duty on bread and vegetable oil, and money transfer and internet tax.

Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung’u reading the 2024/25 budget in Parliament on June 13, 2024. /NATIONAL TREASURY

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