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By Dimakatso Modipa

Kenya national living in South Africa young and old picketing at Kenya embassy in Pretoria photo by Dimakatso Modipa
Kenya national living in South Africa young and old picketing at Kenya embassy in Pretoria photo by Dimakatso Modipa

Widespread protests in Kenya and in South Africa have compelled Kenyan President William Ruto to desist from signing into law the controversial Finance Bill.

The imminent signing of the bill resulted in various young people and students from the East African coastal country marching in protest to the country’s Taifa Embassy in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Protests against the bill in Kenya started last week and it is reported that around 30 protesting young people have already been killed by the police during country-wide skirmishes between protestors and the police.

At the protest march held at Taifa House on Wednesday, a Kenyan student Sphia Wabosha, who is studying at the University of Pretoria, said the following:

“I am here to support my Kenyan people and right now we are rejecting a Finance Bill they are due to be signed into law by the government of Kenya as it doesn’t favour the nation.”

“Even when we are not home in Kenya at the moment we are still Kenyans and we are not here to fight anyone but to have a peaceful demonstration,” said Wabosha.

“We are saying no to the bill, we don’t want it, we don’t want to discuss it, we reject it, and we are saying to the government that even if we are away from home we are watching,” she said.

“We want to show the government that democracy entails government of the people by the people and they even though we put them in power we as public are the ones who actually have power,” said Wabosha.

“People can’t afford sanitary pads yet the government wants to impose taxes on sanitary pads, we want accountability and don’t want to support the President’s wife with our taxes, and we don’t want to build a new house for the Deputy President with our taxes,” fumed Wabosha.

“The proposed bill also aims at taxing all young people from the age of twenty-five irrespective of whether they are working or not,” she said.

Wabosha said the protests are a cry for help as Kenyans are peaceful people and it is totally unacceptable that the President Ruto had not listened to their pleas and the police responded by shooting to death unarmed youth and he must therefore step down as the country’s president.

Dr Emily Siteti from Kenya, who is visiting relatives in South Africa, told Tshwane Talks that as a mother, a parent and a teacher she is not happy about the Kenyan government’s refusal to listen to the youth of that country.

“There are various issues in the proposed bill which are contentious, and Kenyans have been taxed to the maximum as it is and the whole bill is messy,” she said.

She pointed out that many people are suffering in Kenya and that done of them can’t even afford to pay for their education due to the high levies that have been imposed on education and other spheres of life.

She pointed out that past generations in Kenya have tolerated the miserable conditions under which the government has been putting them and as a result the government is taking the people of that country for granted.

“We are not proud to say we are Kenyan people as we have seen unarmed youth bring shot and killed,” said Josiah Muriuki, who read the memorandum that was submitted to the Kenyan Embassy.

“We don’t want the Finance Bill to be amended, we don’t want it to be edited, but we want it to be scrapped,” he said.

Emmaculate Liaga told Tshwane Talks that the purpose of the march was for the international community to get to know about the suffering that Kenyans are going through in their own country.

“We are rejecting the friendliness of the international community to our president, who doesn’t observe human rights laws in his own country,” she said.

She lamented the fact that President William Ruto is always invited by the international community to observe elections and that he is even part of the Africa Mission for Peace in Ukraine but his own country is burning,” said Liaga.

She stressed that the international community must see Ruto ” for what he really is.”

In her appeal to the international community Liaga said:

“Put pressure on Ruto, impose personal sanctions on him so that he can deliver and if you can’t do any of the above, then please don’t invite him to your countries.”

The following attachment is a memrandum:

press release KEDASA

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