Anti-tax demos: KDF deployed to quell protest chaos

Kenya Defence Forces. 

Photo credit: Pool

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale Tuesday night issued a gazette notice declaring a national security emergency paving way for the deployment of Kenya Defence Forces to quell the ongoing mass protests against the Finance Bill, 2024.

This is after the police who had been deployed to restore law and order especially in Nairobi, were overwhelmed by the protesters who managed to storm into the National Assembly where they caused havoc and also burnt City Hall.

In the special gazette notice, Mr Duale said military officers were deployed as the violent acts during protests had resulted in destruction and breaching of critical infrastructure.

Security officers along Parliament Road Nairobi Tuesday, June 25, 2024, restrain demonstrators from accessing Parliament buildings during the demonstration against Finance Bill, 2024.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo| Nation Media Group

“Pursuant to Article 241 (3) (b) of the Constitution of Kenya as read with sections 31 (1) (a), 31 (1) (c), 33 (1), 34 (1) and 34 (2) of the Kenya Defence Forces Act, (Cap. 199), the Kenya Defence Forces is deployed on June 25, 2024 in support of the National Police Service response to the security emergency caused by the ongoing violent protests in various parts of the Republic of Kenya resulting in destruction and breaching of critical infrastructure,” the Gazette notice read in full.


There were reports Monday evening of possible deployment of the military to assist police officers quell protests that marred the country especially in Nairobi.

Long before the gazette notice issued by Mr Duale, the Nation was privy to a signal that was sent by Military Intelligence Corps (MI Corps), which has its base in Embakasi, Nairobi, asking that officers be put on standby.

MI Corps was established in July 2016 with a view of enhancing the Directorate of Military Intelligence capacity to effectively provide intelligence in support of KDF operations.

“Be on standby during the Finance Bill. Please acknowledge receipt,” a Fragmentary Order sent to various Garrisons read.

A Fragmentary Order (FRAGO) is an abbreviated form of an operation order (OPORD) which may be either verbal, written or digital which is usually issued on a day-to-day basis that eliminates the need for restating information contained in a basic operation order.

 A police truck burnt by demonstrators along Parliament buildings in Nairobi on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, during a demonstration against Finance Bill, 2024. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo| Nation Media Group

The first signal that proved the military were on action, was when a few minutes after protesters gained access to the National Assembly, two trucks full of military officers arrived in the compound.

Moments later, the protesters fled parliament and joined the rest of demonstrators who were within the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD).

On Monday, at 4pm, a number of military vehicles were also spotted leaving Kahawa and Lang’ata Barracks. The military vehicles included trucks and ambulances.

They all headed towards the city center and their focus was within Parliament buildings. Others were also seen making rounds within the CBD with soldiers keenly observing the situation.

The military officers were also spotted around State House in Nairobi.

Shortly after their deployment to the city, Saboti MP Caleb Amisi, a member of the National Assembly Defence and Foreign Relations Committee urged the military officers to “not allow themselves to be used to shoot Kenyans in the streets".

"It is a democracy, not a military rule,” he said. 


Former Defence Cabinet Secretary, Eugene Wamalwa condemned the deployment of the military to Nairobi saying it was unconstitutional because due procedure for their involvement in the protests had not been followed.

According to article 241(b) of the constitution, the Defense Forces shall assist and cooperate with other authorities in situations of emergency or disaster and report to the National Assembly whenever deployed in such circumstances.

Clause c of the same article clarifies that the Defense Forces may be deployed to restore peace in any part of Kenya affected by unrest or instability only with the approval of the National Assembly.

This brings to question the constitutionality of Tuesday's move where elements of the military were deployed to handle civilians in Nairobi yet they had not received a go ahead from Parliament and did not report their activities to the National Assembly which at the time was under siege by Gen Z protesters.

It is also on the same day that protestors accessed the parliament, an incident that led to the deaths of some of the agitators, that President Ruto launched the Global Peace Leadership Summit in Nairobi.

Protesters had earlier on planned to storm State House on Thursday this week, when President Ruto will be assenting the Financial Bill 2024 to law.