Finance Bill 2024: Wanyama sides with victims in harsh critique of government force

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Finance Bill 2024: Wanyama sides with victims in harsh critique of government force

Festus Chuma 10:45 - 28.06.2024

Several people died during protests against Kenya's Finance Bill 2024 prompting outcry and demands for justice from notable figures.

Former Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama has voiced his deep disapproval of the security forces' harsh response to the recent anti-finance bill protests in Kenya, which tragically resulted in the loss of numerous lives.

His remarks followed a turbulent period marked by public unrest against proposed tax increases—a movement that culminated in the government's decision to retract the contentious Finance Bill 2024.

Wanyama, who currently plays as a midfielder for CF Montreal, took to his Instagram to express his dismay and solidarity with the victims of the violent clashes.

"Democracy is the government of the people. By the people. For the people. My heart goes out to the innocent lives lost during the protest. Everybody has a right to be heard. Respect life," Wanyama stated.

The protests, which began peacefully last week, escalated rapidly.

By Tuesday, demonstrators, primarily young Kenyans, had moved from marching in Nairobi and other cities to direct action at the nation's parliament buildings.

The police responded with lethal force, firing live ammunition into the crowds, leading to the deaths of over a dozen individuals.

The aggressive tactic by law enforcement has been widely criticized both domestically and internationally.

Protesters managed to breach parliamentary security, resulting in significant damage.

Local television stations broadcasted images of the aftermath, which included burnt furniture and shattered windows, symbolizing the intensity of the public's opposition to the new tax legislation.

In his social media posts, Wanyama also lamented the conditions that led to such drastic measures by the protestors, saying, "Our heroes, they deserved better," while calling for justice for those who perished.

The withdrawn Finance Bill 2024 was originally introduced as a measure to address Kenya’s substantial debt, which exceeds $80 billion.

The government argued that without increased tax revenues, which currently half of are consumed by debt servicing, the economic stability of the country could deteriorate further.

However, the proposed tax hikes were seen by many as excessively burdensome, particularly during a time of economic recovery and widespread financial hardship.

President William Ruto's administration, taken aback by the vehemence of the protests, eventually conceded to public pressure.

The president stated he would not sign the bill into law in an announcement that came just days before the worst of the violence erupted.

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