President Ruto Says Finance Bill To Be Withdrawn After Anti-Tax Protest Deaths

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Kenyan President William Ruto said Wednesday that a bill containing contentious tax hikes would “be withdrawn”, dramatically reversing course after more than 20 people died and parliament was ransacked by protesters opposed to the legislation.

But he warned that the withdrawal of the finance bill would mean a significant shortfall in funding for development programmes designed to help farmers and schoolteachers, among others, as the East African nation struggles to lower its foreign debt burden.

“I concede and therefore I will not sign the 2024 finance bill and it shall subsequently be withdrawn,” Ruto told a press briefing, adding: “The people have spoken.”

President of Kenya William Ruto addresses members of the media during a press conference at the State House in Nairobi, on June 26, 2024.
A protesters reacts to a teargas canister launched at them by riot police during a nationwide strike to protest against tax hikes and the Finance Bill 2024 in downtown Nairobi, on June 25, 2024. 
Protesters gather during a nationwide strike to protest against tax hikes and the Finance Bill 2024 in downtown Nairobi, on June 25, 2024.  
A man walks past the wreckage of a car burned down by protesters following a deadly nationwide strike to protest against tax hikes and the Finance Bill 2024 in downtown Nairobi, on June 26, 2024.  

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