Caption for the landscape image:

Day Parliament was raided: MPs, staff recall their ordeal

Scroll down to read the article

Furniture in the National Assembly's dinning hall that were vandalised by rioters who stormed Parliament Buildings on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Members of Parliament (MPs) who were in main Parliament building on June 25, when rioters forced their way in protesting against Finance Bill 2024 say they saw death and knew it was the end of the road for them.

A number of them largely from the Majority/government side had to be sneaked out in ambulances to avoid wrath of the mob. The masses were hungry for blood.

But it was the brazen assault on Parliament that came as a shocker, as the public displayed their rage against the passage of the Bill, which would later be withdrawn after President William Ruto declined to assent to it.

Sanctity of Parliament was breached and the precincts turned into a scene of pandemonium.

The National Assembly had held its morning sitting where the Finance Bill, 2024 was passed and was just concluding the Appropriation Bill 2024. The sitting extended beyond 1pm, where they usually break for one and half hours for lunch.

The moment protesters entered Parliament

But this time round, there was no break as the House sat continuously to dispense its business for the day.

Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda, one of the opposition legislators who voted in approval of the contentious Bill, in his recollection of the day’s events described it as a scene straight from a movie.

“We had just taken the vote in the chambers and I had left our Bunge Tower offices, once I was up on the 19th floor, I saw people running helter-skelter.

“MPs were scampering left and right. I went to my office, removed my tie and coat and remained in a shirt, then applied my paramilitary tactics to exit and joined the crowd,” Mr Ochanda narrated.

He recalls how he walked into the protesting crowd that was milling around their offices, fear stricken though as he knew being identified as an MP would come with serious consequences.

Furniture in the National Assembly's dinning hall that were vandalised by rioters who stormed Parliament Buildings on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

“I bought a face mask around City Square for camouflage and went straight to the Railways area where I crossed the footbridge to the Landi Mawe area.

“I was just alone. I did not even have a bodyguard because I didn’t want to cause anxiety. I also had to remove my watch and folded my shirt’s sleeves. I feared the protesters would identify me but I was lucky to escape on a motorcycle boda boda,” the Bondo MP whose ‘Yes’ vote led to massive protests in his constituency narrated.

His Uriri counterpart Mark Nyamita, who however, voted against the Bill was also caught up in the melee.

“There had never been a security drill in Parliament and this situation caught MPs off-guard. Some members were using the tunnel for the first time.

“As the commotion ensued, some MPs who had voted ‘No’ to the Bill were asking the others who voted ‘Yes’ to stay behind and explain to the protesters why they voted against their wishes, and the ‘Yes’ team was also telling us to remain behind and talk to them to spare their lives, it was a chilling encounter,” Mr Nyamita explained.

During the escape, those who’d voted YES ensured they were in the company of their NO counterparts as human shields. The charged crowd would be kinder to those who rejected the Bill, they argued.

He adds: “In fact there was almost a scuffle between ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ members which almost degenerated into a fight.”

Initially, the protesters pulled down Parliament’s perimeter wall around the mausoleum area, accessed the precincts before they were repulsed by the police.

In a span of about 10 minutes, the protesters, in their multitude came back and easily stormed Parliament as the outnumbered armed security officers retreated.

By this time, members of the two Houses had already been informed of the danger outside and evacuation measures deployed.


Furniture in the National Assembly's dinning hall that were vandalised by rioters who stormed Parliament Buildings on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Via the 5-meter-wide, 120-meter long pedestrian tunnel that connects the main Parliament buildings and the recently inaugurated state of the art Bunge Towers-the office complex for the MPs, majority of the people’s representatives had managed to dodge the protesters.

For Lurambi MP Titus Khamala, it was a horrible scene. He recalled how at one time he wanted to rebuke the act of invasion through a prayer but on a second thought, had to look for an escape route immediately.

“... the word of God that was to come out of me went back to my heart as I looked for an escape route to the tunnel. It was a difficult moment,” Mr Khamala said.

Kimilili Didmus Barasa compared his race to escape the wrath of the protesters to that of popular sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala.

“I was enjoying my sumptuous fresh fruit platter when the youth came in. I ran just like Omanyala. If I wasn’t able to run, I would have been dead by now,” said the legislator.

“I heard one of the youth identify me as the usual MP in a cap. I was behind other MPs but the first to arrive at Bunge Towers. I saw death,” Mr Barasa adds.

He however, says that the historic invasion of Parliament by the young people is not something that should be condemned but “we should draw lessons that we must engage our young people, especially in looking for employment for them and listening to them.”

“The future of our country is in the hands of our young people. They are the ones we will pass over the baton to and so we must listen to the youth, elderly people and women,” he said.

Some of the MPs who tried to use their guzzlers from Parliament were cornered, with some forced back to assembly to review their exit strategies.

While in the tunnel, a section of MPs aligned to Azimio would be heard accusing their Kenya Kwanza colleagues of being the source of the reasons “we are running away.”


Broken glass and furniture at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi after rioters stormed the National Assembly on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Conversing in swahili, they would be heard saying; “Nyinyi ndio mmetuletea hii shida na ujeuri wenu. Mngesikiza wakenya kwa hii mambo ya Finance Bill, hatungekuwa kwa hii shida.”

Loosely translated as: “You are the cause of our troubles and the reason why we are in this situation. Had you listened to Kenyans opposed to the Finance Bill, we wouldn’t be here!”

A wave of protesters had just surged into Parliament, shouting slogans and brandishing placards. Panic ensued as MPs, caught off guard, scrambled to find exits through the tunnel.

Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo described the incident as a “terrifying two hours” for most legislators who were within Parliament.

She recalled how a colleague in the category of " wanted" by the public, wore a hoodie and a mask to conceal his identity.

Anti-Finance Bill protests
Uprooted Road signage, outside Parliament buildings, Nairobi.
Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

“The camouflage he had on was good but I could tell who he was. To enable him to gain confidence, I pretended I did not recognise him but greeted the one who was accompanying him who had not done a good job. There was terror in the eyes of most MPs,” she said.

She said MPs were asked to leave the area for the now famous tunnel, by parliamentary security but the elevators were painfully slow and hence most used the stairs.

The lawmaker remembered how she went to get her bag and found colleagues with disability in the lounge, evidently scared.

“As I left, they asked me, Millie you are leaving us here?" There was confusion and pandemonium. I got into a moral dilemma. Do I stay and hope that they would not be harmed because of my presence or would my presence lead to inferences of collaboration that some quarters have been so desperately trying to spin? I decided to leave and assured them that they will not be harmed because of the disability but they should remain in that room,” she said.

The MP said she later saw UDA MP Bishop Jackson Kosgei - nominated to represent Persons Living with Disabilities being wheeled by demonstrators in his wheelchair on the streets.

Anti-Finance Bill protests

Police attempt to restrain demonstrators along Parliament Road in Nairobi during the anti-Finance Bill protests of June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo| Nation Media Group

Mr Kosgei had narrated how Azimio la Umoja One Kenya MPs who largely voted ‘No’ to the Bill had stormed out of Parliament in protest against the majority vote and declared that they would join the protesters who were engaging police in running battles in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD). 

“Unfortunately, the evacuation route is not friendly to wheelchair users like myself. It was getting worse. My colleague Rose Museu, who was using crutches, and I decided to face the protesters,” he narrated in a recent interview.

He went on: “They came in and saw us. They knew who I am and even knew how I had voted. But they told me that I was a good man and asked me to allow them to escort me out of the building. They said what would happen might not be good for me.”

Mwala MP Vincent Musyoka recalled how he had just taken his lunch and left his phone on the table to go and pick fruits when hell broke loose.

“I heard the noise but had to rush back to the table to pick my phone. Already several youth had gained entry and I had to remove my tie but because I’m also in the same category of majority of the protesters – a millennial, I yelled with them and managed to escape to the tunnel,” Mr Musyoka told Nation on Monday.