Anti-tax demos: One dead, several nursing gunshot injuries in Mombasa

Anti-Finance Bill protests

An injured protester is assisted by members of the public during the anti-Finance Bill protests in Mombasa June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Several people are nursing injuries after following Tuesday’s anti-Finance Bill protests.
  • Chaos erupted after the demonstrators attempted to march to Mombasa State House.

Tens of people in Mombasa County, including police officers, in Mombasa are nursing injuries after following Tuesday’s deadly anti-Finance Bill protests.

Sources at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital (CGTRH) disclosed that by Tuesday evening one person was pronounced dead at the facility.

The hospital further said one patient has been admitted in the ICU and nine others were nursing severe gunshot injuries.

“They had gunshot wounds, some in the neck, others in their hands and other parts of the body. The severity of injuries majorly depended on where they were shot,” an official at the hospital who requested anonymity said.

According to the official, some of the patients’ bones were shattered by the impact of the bullets, especially those who were shot in their limbs.

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir visited the injured and told the Nation that 11 patients had been taken to the referral facility.

Chaos erupted after the demonstrators attempted to march to Mombasa State House through Mama Ngina Drive.

Anti-riot police officers, who had all along remained calm, were forced into action to prevent the youths from marching to State House.

The demonstrators fled in different directions but regrouped moments later resulting in an altercation between some of them and police officers as they demanded to be allowed to continue with their peaceful march.

Mbona wanatuchapa? Sisi tunataka amani (Why are they beating us up? We are for peace),” one protester yelled.

Mombasa State House is located about three kilometres from the Mama Ngina Waterfront.

Soon afterwards, an exchange of stones and tear gas canisters erupted between a smaller group of youths and the police officers. Gunshots rent the air during the chaos.

Nation reporters counted at least five police officers being carried to safety by their colleagues after sustaining injuries, while Kenya Red Cross Society paramedics assisted the injured protesters.

Throughout the day, the demonstrators kept on engaging police officers in a cat-and-mouse chase.

By evening, they had blocked access into and out of Mombasa Island through the busy Nyali Bridge.

Commuters were held in the traffic jam for hours with sections of CBD also no-go-zones as protesters lit bonfires.

Some national government offices, including the Huduma Centre building and the civil registration offices on Bima Towers, were damaged. A section of the building was destroyed by fire.

In Kilifi County, the protests momentarily turned chaotic when a group of protesters attempted to storm the Malindi Police Station.

The hundreds of youth were divided into three groups with one grouping turning rowdy.

The protests remained peaceful until the demonstrators reached Malindi Police Station where some started hurling stones at the station prompting police officers to fire teargas canisters. However, no one was injured or arrested in the incident.

For the better part of Tuesday afternoon, the town and its environs was filled with energetic youth engaging the police in running battles. 

A section of the protesting youth condemned the violence and abandoned the protests in the afternoon.

“There was a group of some youths who were harassing people but we calmed down the situation,” one protester said.

In Kilifi town, the protesters took to the streets alongside boda boda operators to denounce the Finance Bill.

The youth convened at different points but later converged outside Pwani University and marched through St Thomas Road towards Kilifi Town.

They were repulsed when they attempted to storm the office of the Kilifi North Member of Parliament Owen Baya.

Their attempts to access the MP’s home in Mwezangombe were met with resistance from armed police officers who dispersed them using teargas resulting in a running battle after the youth started throwing stones at the officers.

They later stormed Ganze Member of Parliament Kenneth Kazungu's home in Basi village in Kilifi North aub-County and the police responded with teargas.

In Kwale, the protesters sought to air their grievances at the offices of Lunga Lunga MP Mangale Choforomodo and his Msambweni counterpart Feisal Bader.

The youthful protesters were joined by older citizens who said they support their children in the ongoing protests.

"We decided to come out and help our children demonstrate because when we suffer, they suffer," said Terry Kemunto, one of the protesters.
In Tana River, protesters blamed their legislators for supporting the Bill.

Last week, three out of the four legislators in Tana River County voted in favour of the bill while one was absent during its second reading.

Woman Rep Amina Dika (Kanu), Garsen MP Ali Wario (ODM) and Bura MP Yakub Adow (UPIA) voted for the bill, while Galole MP Said Hiribae (ODM) was absent.

Similar protests were also witnessed in Taita Taveta County where protesters momentarily blocked the Mombasa-Nairobi highway, and in Mpeketoni, Lamu County where they faulted their MPs for siding with the government.

Stanley Muthama (Lamu West), Ruweida Obbo (Lamu East) and Lamu Woman Rep Muthoni Marubu all voted in favour of the controversial bill.

Report by Jurgen Nambeka, Brian Ocharo, Karim Rajan, Lucy Mkanyika, Stephen Oduor, Kalume Kazungu, Siago Cece, Maureen Ongala and Nehemiah Okwembah