Kenyan President Ruto withdraws controversial finance bill following violent protests

Kenyan President Ruto withdraws controversial finance bill following violent protests

Kenyan President Ruto Withdraws Controversial Finance Bill Amidst Violent Protests

Kenyan President‘s William Ruto has withdrawn the highly controversial finance bill from parliament on Monday, 28th February 2023, following days of

violent protests

across the country. The bill, popularly known as the “

Tax Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023

“, had been met with

heated opposition from various stakeholders, including the public and business communities


The controversial bill proposed several amendments to Kenya’s tax laws, including the introduction of new taxes and increased taxes on certain goods and services. Opponents argued that these measures would

disproportionately affect the poor and middle class

, as well as small businesses.

The protests, which began on the 23rd of February 2023, quickly escalated into violent clashes between demonstrators and police. According to reports, at least

twenty people have been killed

and hundreds more injured during the unrest. The protests also led to widespread damage to property, with businesses in Nairobi, Mombasa, and other major cities reporting significant losses.

In a statement issued on Monday, President Ruto acknowledged the concerns of the public and pledged to engage with stakeholders to find a

more inclusive solution

. He also announced that his government would establish a task force to review the tax bill and make recommendations for reforms.

The withdrawal of the finance bill is a significant victory for those who have been campaigning against it. However, many are calling for deeper reforms to address the underlying issues that sparked the protests in the first place, including

poverty, inequality, and political exclusion

. It remains to be seen whether President Ruto’s government will listen to these demands and take concrete action.

President Ruto‘s Decision to Withdraw the Controversial Finance Bill: A Detailed Outline


In the vibrant and politically dynamic Kenyan landscape, the President plays a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s economic and political future. Amidst this backdrop, we delve into the recent events surrounding President Ruto‘s decision to withdraw a controversial finance bill that ignited violent protests across the country.

Overview of the Political Landscape and the Role of the President:

With a diverse population, rich natural resources, and a dynamic economy, Kenya is considered one of Africa’s promising countries. However, the country faces numerous political and economic challenges that test the leadership of its President. The President, as both head of state and government, is responsible for implementing policies aimed at addressing these challenges while ensuring the stability and unity of the nation.

The Controversial Finance Bill:

In a bid to boost the economy and generate revenue, President Ruto introduced a new finance bill

, which proposed several tax measures. However, the bill sparked widespread controversy due to its perceived regressive nature and potential impact on the most vulnerable sectors of the population. The proposed tax measures included an increase in VAT, excise duty on fuel, and new taxes on digital services and luxury goods.

Implications and Violent Protests:

The controversial finance bill led to heated debates among various stakeholders, including opposition political parties, civil society organizations, and the general public. Protests erupted in several major cities, with demonstrators blocking roads, torching vehicles, and engaging in violent clashes with security forces. The situation escalated into a full-blown crisis, threatening the stability of the nation.

Purpose of this Article:

This article aims to provide an in-depth outline of the events leading up to President Ruto’s decision to withdraw the controversial finance bill amidst violent protests. We will explore the reasons behind the President’s U-turn, the implications for Kenya’s political and economic landscape, and the potential lessons for future policy decisions.

Background of the Controversial Finance Bill

The Finance Bill 2021, proposed by the Kenyan government, has stirred intense public debate due to its contentious provisions. The bill, which aims to amend various tax laws and introduce new measures, contains several provisions that have raised concerns amongst citizens and businesses alike.

Contents of the Finance Bill

Proposed tax increases: The bill proposes several tax increases, including a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) rate on digital services and an increase in corporate tax from 25% to 30%. These measures, if enacted, could significantly impact the disposable income of Kenyan citizens and the profitability of local businesses. For instance, an average family’s monthly spending on digital services such as streaming platforms and online shopping could increase by around KES 3,000 (approximately USD 30) due to the proposed VAT hike. Similarly, businesses would have an additional 5% corporate tax burden.

Amendments to the Retirement Benefits Act: Another controversial provision involves amendments to the Retirement Benefits Act. The proposed changes would require employers to pay pension contributions for their employees at a rate of 15%, up from the current 12%. While this move is intended to address the country’s long-term pension deficit, it could potentially put a strain on smaller businesses and lead to employment cuts.

Rationale behind the Bill

The Kenyan government has defended the Finance Bill, arguing that the proposed tax increases and other measures are necessary for several reasons. For one, they claim the changes would help to close revenue gaps and improve public services. Additionally, the government has expressed concerns over the country’s pension deficit and believes that amending the Retirement Benefits Act is an essential step to ensure long-term financial stability.

Public Reaction

Initially, the Finance Bill received a lukewarm reception from the public with some stakeholders expressing their support for the proposed changes. However, as more details about the bill emerged and its full impact became clearer, growing opposition arose. Critics have argued that the tax increases will disproportionately burden the average Kenyan citizen and small businesses, while others have expressed concern over the potential implications for employment. As a result, numerous protests have taken place across the country, with many Kenyans voicing their opposition to the bill.

Kenyan President Ruto withdraws controversial finance bill following violent protests

I The Violent Protests

The violent protests that engulfed Kenya in 2017 were a tumultuous display of political unrest and social discord. These protests, primarily taking place in the capital city, Nairobi, and other major urban areas, drew thousands of participants from various groups, each with distinct motivations.

Description of the Protests

Size: An estimated 100,000 people took part in these protests, often clashing with security forces. The scale of the unrest was unprecedented since the disputed 2007 presidential election, which had led to widespread violence and a state of emergency.

Location: The protests spread across the country, with notable hotspots in Kisumu, Mombasa, and Siaya counties. Protesters set up roadblocks, obstructing traffic and disrupting essential services.

Intensity: The protests were characterized by intense confrontations between protesters and the police, as well as acts of destruction and looting. Buildings were set ablaze, vehicles were overturned, and businesses suffered substantial losses.

Protest Groups and Motivations

Key Protest Groups: The protests were fueled by opposition politicians, civil society organizations, and youth groups who felt aggrieved by the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta. The National Super Alliance (NASA), a coalition led by Raila Odinga, spearheaded the protests, alleging electoral fraud and calling for Kenyatta’s resignation.

Motivations: The protests were driven by deep-seated political grievances and economic discontent. Many Kenyans felt that the electoral process was rigged, perpetuating a sense of powerlessness and frustration. Additionally, high unemployment rates, rising living costs, and widespread corruption further fueled the unrest.

Government’s Response

Use of Force: The government’s response to the protests was marked by heavy-handed tactics. Police used teargas, water cannons, and live ammunition to quell demonstrations, resulting in numerous injuries and deaths. The heavy-handed response only served to further inflame tensions and solidify public opinion against the government.

Effectiveness of Messaging: The government’s messaging during the protests was inconsistent and ineffective. While some officials called for calm and dialogue, others threatened harsh consequences for protesters. The mixed messaging only added to the confusion and lack of trust between the government and the people.

International Community’s Reaction

The international community expressed concern over the escalating violence in Kenya. The African Union and the United Nations both issued statements condemning the protests and calling for calm and dialogue. The negative attention from the international community could potentially impact Kenya’s reputation and economic standing.

Kenyan President Ruto withdraws controversial finance bill following violent protests

President Ruto’s Decision to Withdraw the Finance Bill

President Ruto’s decision to withdraw the Finance Bill, which included proposed tax increases, was a significant political move that has sparked both positive and negative reactions.

Reasons Behind the Decision

Political Pressure: The president faced intense political pressure to withdraw the bill. Opposition from Members of Parliament (MPs) was a major factor, with some threatening to impeach him if he went ahead with the tax proposals. Public opinion also played a role, as protests against the bill grew larger and more frequent in various parts of the country.

Economic Implications: The proposed tax increases could have had significant economic implications, particularly at a time when Kenya is already facing high unemployment rates and inflation. Many Kenyans were concerned that the tax hikes would further burden an already struggling population, potentially leading to more protests and unrest.

Consequences of Withdrawing the Bill

Positive Consequences: Withdrawing the bill could help improve Ruto’s public image, as he showed a willingness to listen to the concerns of his constituents and take action to address them. This could potentially reduce tensions and help stabilize the political situation in Kenya.

Negative Consequences: However, there are also potential negative consequences to consider. Withdrawing the bill could delay much-needed revenue for the government and potentially destabilize Kenya’s economic situation, as the country continues to grapple with significant debt and a large budget deficit.

Reintroducing the Finance Bill

President Ruto may choose to reintroduce the Finance Bill in the future, potentially with modifications to address public concerns. This could help alleviate some of the economic challenges facing Kenya, but it may also lead to renewed political tensions if the proposed tax increases are not seen as fair or equitable.

Kenyan President Ruto withdraws controversial finance bill following violent protests


In the midst of violent protests against the Finance Bill 2022, Kenyan President Ruto made a significant decision to withdraw the bill from Parliament on February 17, 2023. This marked a turning point in the political landscape of Kenya and highlighted the power of public engagement in democratic processes.

Recap of Main Points:

  • The Finance Bill, which aimed to increase taxes and introduce new levies, sparked widespread outrage among the Kenyan populace.
  • The protests escalated into violent clashes between protesters and security forces, resulting in numerous injuries and deaths.
  • President Ruto initially stood firm on his position to pass the bill, but later decided to withdraw it due to mounting pressure from the public and opposition parties.

Implications for Kenyan Politics and Society:

Bold and Italic: The withdrawal of the Finance Bill signified a victory for the Kenyan people in their fight against unpopular legislation.

This event underscored the importance of public engagement and protest as a means of effecting change in democratic societies. It also highlighted the potential for violent protests to disrupt the political process and create instability.

Possible Outcomes:
  • The opposition parties may capitalize on the momentum generated by the protests to challenge the ruling coalition in upcoming elections.
  • The government may seek to address the underlying issues that led to the protests, such as economic inequality and corruption.
  • The withdrawal of the Finance Bill may lead to a more inclusive democratic process in which public opinion is taken into greater consideration.

Closing Thoughts:

Bold: The events surrounding the Finance Bill 2022 serve as a reminder of the importance of public engagement in democratic processes.

Italic: As citizens, we have a responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable and advocate for policies that reflect our values.

Bold and Italic: Protest, when carried out peacefully and with a clear message, can be an effective means of bringing about change.