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Kenya's President withdraws controversial Finance Bill amid deadly protest

In a dramatic turn of events, President William Ruto has announced the withdrawal of a contentious finance bill that had sparked widespread protests and led to a deadly confrontation between demonstrators and security forces.


Addressing the nation on Wednesday, President Ruto acknowledged the public's vehement opposition to the bill, which proposed significant tax increases.


"It is clear that Kenyans want nothing to do with this bill," he stated. "I concede and will not sign the bill into law."


The decision follows a day of intense unrest on Tuesday, which saw at least 22 people killed, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHRC).


The violence escalated to the point where parliament was set ablaze by angry protesters, marking one of the most turbulent days in recent Kenyan history.


The finance bill, which aimed to increase taxes on essential goods and services, had been met with fierce resistance from various sectors of society.


Critics argued that the proposed hikes would exacerbate the economic struggles of ordinary Kenyans, who are already grappling with high inflation and unemployment rates.


The protests, initially peaceful, turned violent as clashes broke out between demonstrators and police.


Tear gas and live ammunition were reportedly used to disperse the crowds, leading to the tragic loss of life and widespread injuries.


In his address, President Ruto expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and promised a thorough investigation into the incidents.


"My heart goes out to the families of the victims. We will ensure that those responsible for the violence are held accountable," he said.


The withdrawal of the finance bill has been seen as a significant victory for the protestors and a testament to the power of public pressure.


However, the events of the past days have left a nation mourning and grappling with deep-seated socio-economic challenges.


As Kenya moves forward, the government faces the daunting task of addressing the underlying issues that sparked the protests while ensuring that such violence does not recur.


The withdrawal of the bill may have quelled immediate tensions, but it remains to be seen how the administration will navigate the complex landscape of public opinion and economic policy in the coming months.


Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith

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