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Kenyan Activists Demand Ruto Resign After Tax Hike u-turn

ACTIVISTS across Kenya are mobilising for new protests, strikes, and sit-ins, demanding President William Ruto resign following his U-turn on proposed tax hikes. The call to action was widely circulated on Friday, urging nationwide activism after demonstrations led to his withdrawal of the contested finance bill.

President Ruto retracted the finance bill on Wednesday, pledging to listen to the youth after a day of violent clashes that resulted in the deaths of at least 23 people and the brief storming and burning of the parliament. Despite the retraction, unrest persisted, with two more fatalities and several injuries reported during smaller protests on Thursday, prompting the army’s deployment to assist the police.


For many demonstrators, Ruto’s concession came too late. A pamphlet advocating for seven days of activism, including countrywide strikes and roadblocks on July 2 and July 4, was shared extensively online. ‘He has proven himself unfit as a Kenyan and failed his constitutional mandate to protect the Kenyan people,’ read the document, accompanied by the hashtag #RUTOMUSTGO. ‘We will not relent until William Ruto unconditionally resigns.’

President Ruto faces the most significant challenge to his two-year presidency, as the youth-led protest movement has rapidly escalated from online dissent to mass rallies calling for his removal. In response to the backlash, Ruto directed the treasury to identify ways to cut spending by KSh346bn ($2.69bn) and instructed officials to fund only critical and essential services, limiting expenditure to 15 percent of the budget until a supplementary budget is approved.

Seeking to address the crisis, Ruto also met with several Catholic bishops, a group that has vocally condemned police brutality, to discuss potential solutions to the country’s issues.

At the funeral of Ibrahim Kamau, a 19-year-old motorbike taxi rider killed during Tuesday’s protest, his mother Edith Wanjiku called for justice. ‘Ibrahim was a calm young man, and a happy person who was never involved in crime,’ she said. ‘All I am asking is for justice to prevail.’

At Kamau’s graveside, prominent activist Boniface Mwangi declared Kamau’s death a police murder. ‘His life was cut very short,’ Mwangi told Reuters. ‘He was unarmed, just protesting for his rights.’

The continuing unrest highlights the precarious state of Ruto’s presidency and the growing discontent among Kenya’s youth.

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