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At least 30 killed in Kenya anti-government protests

Kenya protests

Protests erupted in Kenya this week, resulting in at least 30 deaths, sparked by the government’s initiative to significantly raise taxes, reported Human Rights Watch on Saturday. According to the NGO, Kenyan security forces fired directly into crowds of protesters on June 25, 2024, even targeting those attempting to flee. Human Rights Watch determined that at least 30 people lost their lives that day in Nairobi and other locations, based on witness testimonies, public information, and records from hospitals and mortuaries.

“Shooting into crowds without justification, especially as protesters seek to disperse, violates both Kenyan and international law,” stated Otsieno Namwaya, Human Rights Watch’s associate Africa director.

Namwaya emphasized the need for Kenyan authorities to instruct their forces to protect peaceful demonstrators and to end impunity for police violence. Initially, peaceful demonstrations turned violent following the approval of highly unpopular tax hikes by lawmakers under pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The announcement triggered chaotic scenes, with crowds storming the parliament complex and resulting in unprecedented clashes.

President William Ruto’s administration eventually withdrew the controversial bill in response to the outcry. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reported 22 fatalities and 300 injuries, promising to launch an investigation into the incidents. According to Human Rights Watch, a rights activist in Nairobi recounted, “Eight military officers came out and just opened fire on people.”

The IMF had urged Kenya to implement fiscal reforms to access vital funds, with the proposed tax legislation projected to generate an additional $2.3 billion in the next fiscal year. Namwaya underscored that the widespread outrage should serve as a reminder to both the Kenyan government and the IMF that economic recovery cannot come at the expense of human rights.

He advocated for a new social contract that ensures fair revenue generation, responsible management, and funding for services that safeguard everyone’s rights, thereby promoting economic sustainability alongside social justice.

In other news – Mike Chimombe and Mpofu spend the weekend behind bars

Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu, once regarded as businessmen with promising ventures, now find themselves at the center of a controversy involving Zimbabwe’s Presidential Goat Scheme.

Accused of misappropriating a staggering $7 million meant for the scheme, their bail hearing has been postponed until Monday, July 1, compelling them to spend the weekend in custody. Read More

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