Youth groups demands following State’s violent response to protests

Anti-Finance Bill protests

Police officers arrest a protester along Moi Avenue in Nairobi during anti-Finance Bill protests on June 27, 2024.

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

Punctured by police brutality that led to the killing of at least 23 people and injury of thousands of others, youth movement groups have demanded the implementation of a raft of measures to rescue the country from socio-economic and political disarrays that triggered the recent anti-Finance Bill protests.

Part of the reforms they want effected include the immediate reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries (IEBC) and continuous voter registration exercise to enable them to participate in all election processes.

In an open memorandum to President William Ruto, the more than 10 youth groups operating under the #Reject FinanceBill2024, #ProtectTheChildren and #FreeTheAbducted, condemned the killing of protesters by the police and demanded the release of those abducted and detained by the security agencies.

The memorandum was signed by Power254, Siasa Place, Activista, Badili Africa, Africa Youth Leadership Forum, Run For Office, Tribeless Youth, Youth Agenda, Youth Alive!, and IEBC Youth Coordinating Committee.

They petitioned Chief Justice Martha Koome to expedite pending matters on the constitution of the IEBC to enable the electoral body to commence continuous voter registration and update the voter register to ensure eligible voters participate in the election process.

The youth, mainly GenZs and millennials, also demanded the removal of "unconstitutional" offices such as the Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS) posts. 

“These positions have evolved into political tokens and rewards and continue to be paid against lawful court orders, and despite the hard economic times faced by the country,” argued the youth.

On leadership and integrity, they demanded for dismissal of government officials who have been adversely mentioned in corruption cases.

“We demand a reconstitution of the Cabinet and a thorough audit of all appointees to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government,” said the youth, while dismissing the National Dialogue Committee Report (NADCO) that recommends the creation of positions.

They demanded disclosure of the national debt to empower them to restrain future regimes from exploiting the debt matter and binding Kenyans to ‘punitive’ measures.

“The demand for a national public debt register is critical and we endorse the efforts of Senator Okiya Omtatah in this regard,” they said in a signed statement while calling for an intensified fight against rampant corruption in the government.

“We re-emphasize the government cutting down on expenditure on non-essential services such hospitality, reduction of luxurious vehicles, limiting the amount of their purchase and number owned per official, foreign and local travels,” added the youth.

They dismissed the housing levy as illegitimate and demanded its termination and accountability for the monies already collected by the government under the scheme.

The groups called for public participation and access to information to empower them to articulate issues that affect them and further the right to life and peaceful protest.

“We demand an immediate and permanent cessation of violence, killings, kidnappings, and disappearances of peaceful protesters by the security agencies. We demand an end to the profiling and targeting of protesters and active citizens for expressing their democratic right to protest and hold an opinion,” said the youths.

They petitioned the Public Service Commission (PSC) to provide a framework for increasing opportunities for qualified youth to join government service.