Finance Bill: Demos rock Nairobi, towns across Kenya


Residents of Eldoret demonstrate against the Finance Bill 2024 on June 25, 2024. 

Photo credit: Loise Wangui | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Police in Nairobi are having a hard time containing the mostly youthful demonstrators.
  • Businesses have remained closed as crowds engaged the officers in running battles.

Protests against Kenya’s new Finance Bill returned to the streets of major towns across the country on Tuesday as Kenyans demanded total rejection of President William Ruto’s proposed tax measures they say are “punitive”.

The demos rocked the capital Nairobi, with police having a hard time containing the mostly youthful demonstrators who wanted to occupy Parliament, as lawmakers debated the bill.


An anti-Finance Bill protestor displays a placard at Coast Bus roundabout in Mombasa on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

Businesses have remained closed as crowds engaged the officers in running battles amid chants of “Reject Finance Bill!”, “Ruto Must Go!” and “Yote Yawezekana Bila Ruto (We Can Make It Minus Ruto”.

The protesters want their representatives to reject the proposed law in its entirety, accusing President Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza regime of being insensitive to their suffering.


Police officers look on as anti-Finance Bill protesters demonstrate on the streets of Nakuru on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Intermittent shots of teargas canisters rent Nairobi air as armed police battled to break up the demos, in which at least two people have been killed since they started weeks ago.

Similar protests were reported in the cities of Kisumu, Nakuru and Mombasa, and towns in more than half of the country’s 47 counties.


Residents of Kakamega town demonstrate against the Finance Bill 2024 on June 25, 2024. 

Photo credit: Isaac Wale | Nation Media Group

In Nairobi, roads leading to the CBD witnessed reduced traffic on Tuesday morning.

Uhuru Highway, Ngong Road, University Way, Thika Road and Jogoo Road are some of the usually busy roads that experienced reduced traffic.

The anti-Finance Bill demonstrations have entered the second week, as Parliament debates the third reading of the Bill.


Anti-Finance Bill protesters in Nairobi march to city's CBD on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

In Mombasa, protesters gathered at the CBD at 9am to begin the demonstrations.

Police officers later arrived at Moi Avenue, where protesters had converged, and appealed to the protesters to remain peaceful.

Chanting anti-government slogans and waving placards, the demonstrators marched from Moi Avenue to Digo Road and other streets within the city.

While traffic was paralysed, other businesses had not been affected by the protests as at midday.


Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir joins protestors outsiders his office on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation media Group

At some point, the protesters attempted to make their way out of the city via Nyali Bridge but then headed back into town as they made their way to the Mama Ngina Waterfront.

Under the scorching mid-morning heat, some of the protesters were relieved when carwash attendants along the streets volunteered to spray them with water. 

In Tana River County, protesters marched towards the Office of Galole Member of Parliament Said Hiribae in Hola town.


Anti-Finance Bill protesters confront police officers along the Meru-Maua road in Meru County on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Muchui O' Nkari | Nation Media Group

In Kwale County, the demonstrations, which started in Ukunda, almost paralysed transport along the busy Likoni-Lungalunga highway.

The protesters stormed Msambweni MP Feisal Bader's office in Ukunda which was heavily guarded, demanding that he rejects the Finance Bill.

In Taita Taveta County, the youth took their demonstrations to Voi town.


An anti-Finance Bill protesters displays a placard in Voi town, Taita Taveta County on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Lucy Mkanyika | Nation Media Group

In Nyeri County, governor Mutahi Kahiga has called on Kenyan youths not to relent in their rejection of the Finance Bill.

Addressing the demonstrators who brought business in karatina town to a standstill, Mr Kahiga urged the government to listen grievance of the citizens.

“I thank all the young people who have shown leadership and have decided to take the ruling class head on, and straighten things in this country, because the older people appear to have no manners. This is a democratic country and the leadership should listen to its people. The bill should be withdrawn entirely and a new one drafted,” he said.

In Nanyuki town, Laikipia County police officers fired teargas cannisters to disperse hundreds of youth who were demonstrating on the streets demanding the rejection of the Bill.


Anti-riot police officers man Mumias NG-CDF offices to keep away the anti-Finance Bill protesters on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Shaban Makokha | Nation Media Group

The protesters were confronted by anti-riot police officers as they tried to force their way into Laikipia East NG-CDF offices.

In Meru County, protesters marched in Meru town, Kianjai, Mikinduri, Nkubu and several other markets rallying against the Bill.

Hundreds of protesters who were accompanied by the police officers marched on the streets while waving placards. 

At Kianjai, the protesters lit bonfires along the Meru-Maua road disrupting traffic flow on the busy road.


Youths protest against the Finance Bill in Kutus town, Kirinyaga County on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: George Munene | Nation Media Group

In Kirinyaga, Junior Secondary School teachers joined the demonstration, accusing the government of plotting to reduce funds allocated to them on permanent pensionable terms in the Bill.

While chanting slogans, the teachers vowed to resist any attempts by the State to slash the Sh13.4 billion which had been proposed in the Bill.

Separately, Kirinyaga Woman Representative Njeri Maina Monday told off Kenya Kwanza MPs critical of their colleagues opposed to the Bill.

The Woman Rep said the decision of those opposed to the Bill should be respected.


Pedestrians walk past a bonfire that was lit by anti-Finance Bill demonstrators in Eldoret town on June 25, 2024. 

Photo credit: Titus Ominde | Nation Media Group

In Murang'a County, hundreds of youths poured to the streets, while accusing the chairman of the Budget and Appropriation Committee Mr Ndindi Nyoro a traitor.

Their spokesman, Allan Gikonyo claimed there had been efforts by some area leaders to entice them with cash to call off the protests.

Protesting peacefully in Mr Nyoro's Kiharu constituency, the youths chanted slogans against President William Ruto and all area MPs who voted to endorse the Finance Bill.


Molo residents protest against the Finance Bill on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: John Njoroge | Nation Media Group

In Kajiado, Isinya and Kitengela towns traffic was disrupted for hours during peaceful protests against the Bill.

The youths marched from Yukos to Kitengela town while chanting anti-government slogans. 

However, the protesters did not interfere with motorists.

A contingent of heavily armed police officers remained calm with some escorting the protesters.


Anti-Finance Bill protesters demonstrate on the streets of Kisii town on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

In Kisii and Nyamira counties, hundreds of youths poured out on the streets to demonstrate.

For the better part of Tuesday morning, most businesses in Kisii town remained closed as traders kept away.

"We are determined to have that Bill withdrawn. Nothing will stop us to express our rights," said Mr Moses Nyakundi.