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Governor Waiguru sends appeal to police over planned Thursday protests

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Mumbi Waiguru speaking on June 5, 2024. PHOTO/ @AnneWaiguru/X.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Mumbi Waiguru speaking on June 5, 2024. PHOTO/ @AnneWaiguru/X.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Mumbi Waiguru has urged the police to show restraint from using excessive force on peaceful demonstrations scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2024.

In a statement on Wednesday, June 21, 2024, Waiguru confirmed that she was aware of planned protests set to take place in different parts of the country.

However, she pleaded with the law enforcement officers asking them not to use force while dealing with unarmed protesters.

The Chairperson of the Council of Governors argued that the right to picket and demonstrate is enshrined in the 2010 promulgated constitution.

“I understand fellow Kenyans will be back out tomorrow,” her statement read in part.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Mumbi Waiguru addressing residents on July 1, 2024. PHOTO/@AnneWaiguru/X.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Mumbi Waiguru addressing residents on July 1, 2024. PHOTO/@AnneWaiguru/X.

“Every person, peaceably and unarmed, has a right to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities in Kenya. I therefore humbly urge law enforcement agencies to show restraint from use of excessive force on peaceful demonstrators,”she added.

Assurance to listen

Nonetheless, Waiguru has also assured the protesters that the government will listen to their concerns.

While lauding them for their courage and honesty, Waiguru affirmed that their input will be critical in shaping the country’s future.

“Meanwhile, we are listening. Thank you for your courage and honesty. This is what makes Kenya great,” Waiguru affirmed.

Reason behind protests

A majority of the people taking part in the street protests are opposed to the Finance Bill 2024. Despite the National Assembly Finance Committee Chairperson Kuria Kimani tabling the report with proposed amendments, the concerned Kenyans have continued to push the MPs to drop the Bill in its entirety.

Activist Boniface Mwangi during street protests on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. PHOTO/@bonifacemwangi/X.
Activist Boniface Mwangi during street protests on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. PHOTO/@bonifacemwangi/X.

On Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in a press briefing, the Kenya Kwanza Parliamentary Group chaired by President William Ruto disclosed that they had listened to concerns raised by Kenyans on the new tax proposals.

They also confirmed that a majority of the contentious issues in the Finance Bill 2024 had been withdrawn.

Among the changes, the Kenya Kwanza team announced that 16 per cent VAT on bread has been removed and the VAT on the transportation of sugar has also been removed.

At the same time, the party confirmed that VAT on financial services and foreign exchange transactions has also been removed.

Kuria Kimani further disclosed that there will be no increase in mobile money transfers.

He said the contentious issue of 2.5 per cent Motor Vehicle Tax that had been proposed has also been removed as well as the excise duty on vegetable oil.

On Thursday, June 19, 2024, MPs started deliberating on the Finance Bill with various lawmakers opposing and others supporting the Bill.

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