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Kenya’s Parliament Approves Controversial Finance Bill Despite Public Outcry

Kenya’s parliament has approved Finance Bill 2024 despite nationwide protests, sparking widespread discontent among citizens over economic impact.

Kenya’s parliament has voted to advance the Finance Bill 2024, which introduces new taxes aimed at raising KSh 346 billion to pay off the national debt and fund development projects.

The bill, which faced strong opposition from citizens worried about its economic impact, was approved with 204 MPs voting in favor and 115 against.

It would now proceed to the committee stage and third reading before being sent to President William Ruto for assent.

The Finance Bill 2024 has sparked controversy since its introduction in May, with proposed tax hikes leading to nationwide protests, including in Nairobi and President Ruto’s hometown, Eldoret. Young Kenyans had been at the forefront of the demonstrations, decrying the rising cost of living.

In response to the backlash, the government withdrew some contentious provisions, including a 16% tax on bread and a 2.5% annual tax on vehicles.

However, the public continued to push for the bill’s rejection, with protests largely peaceful and driven by social media campaigns using hashtags like #OccupyParliament and #RejectFinanceBill2024.

The movement has gained widespread support, with young professionals, including doctors and lawyers, joining the protests, highlighting the nationwide discontent with the bill.

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