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Kenya Erupts: 13 Dead as Anti-Tax Protests Turn Violent

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Kenya Erupts: 13 Dead as Anti-Tax Protests Turn Violent

iexclusivenews – In a shocking turn of events, Kenya’s capital Nairobi has become the epicenter of violent protests against proposed tax hikes.

What began as peaceful demonstrations quickly spiraled into chaos, leaving the nation reeling from unprecedented scenes of destruction and loss of life.

Death Toll Rises: A Nation in Mourning

The Kenya Medical Association has confirmed that the death toll from the protests has climbed to 13.

Dr. Simon Kigondu, president of the association, expressed his shock at the “level of violence against unarmed people,” highlighting the severity of the situation.

Kenya Erupts: 13 Dead as Anti-Tax Protests Turn Violent

A protester lobs back a teargas canister at police during a nationwide strike to protest against tax hikes and the Finance Bill 2024 in downtown

Medical Crisis Unfolds

  • Kenyatta National Hospital reports treating 160 individuals

  • Injuries range from soft tissue damage to gunshot wounds

  • Healthcare system strained by influx of wounded protesters

READ MORE: Kenya in Chaos: Parliament Stormed, President Vows Crackdown

Parliament Under Siege: A Symbol of Democracy Attacked

In a dramatic escalation, demonstrators breached the barriers surrounding Kenya’s parliament complex, leading to scenes of chaos and destruction.

Unprecedented Destruction:

  • Furniture set ablaze inside the parliament building

  • Windows smashed and offices ransacked

  • Live television coverage shocked the nation

Military Deployment and Presidential Warning

As the situation spiraled out of control, the Kenyan government took drastic measures to restore order.

Military Intervention:

  • Defence Minister Aden Bare Duale announces army deployment

  • Soldiers tasked with supporting police in quelling unrest

President Ruto’s Stern Warning:

  • Likens some protesters to “criminals”

  • Vows tough action against “violence and anarchy”

  • Raises concerns about potential human rights violations

Proposed Tax Hikes and Economic Woes

Understanding the underlying causes of these protests is crucial to grasping the full picture of Kenya’s current crisis.

Economic Context:

  • Kenya’s debt stands at 10 trillion shillings ($78 billion)

  • Government claims tax increases necessary to service debt

  • One-third of Kenya’s 52 million population lives in poverty

Controversial Tax Proposals:

  • Initial plans included taxes on bread, car ownership, and mobile services

  • Government rolled back some proposals after initial backlash

  • Current focus on increasing fuel prices and export duties

Global Concern and Calls for Calm

The international community has responded with alarm to the unfolding crisis in Kenya.

Diplomatic Responses:

  • White House appeals for calm

  • More than 10 Western nations express shock at parliament scenes

  • UN Chief and African Union Commission head voice deep concern

The Role of Gen-Z: A New Generation of Activists

One notable aspect of these protests is the prominent role played by Kenya’s youth, particularly those from Generation Z.

Youth-Led Movement:

  • Demonstrations primarily organized and attended by young Kenyans

  • Utilization of social media for coordination and information sharing

  • Reflects growing political engagement among Kenya’s youth

Uncertain Future for Kenya

As Kenya grapples with this crisis, the path forward remains unclear. The government faces the challenge of addressing economic concerns while maintaining order and respecting civil liberties.

Key Questions:

  • Will the government modify its tax proposals further?

  • How will this unrest impact Kenya’s economic stability?

  • Can trust be rebuilt between the government and its citizens?

This unprecedented unrest in Kenya serves as a stark reminder of the delicate balance between economic policy and social stability. As the nation moves forward, finding common ground between the government’s fiscal needs and the citizens’ economic realities will be crucial for Kenya’s future prosperity and peace.

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