Kenya: Protesters Now Demand Ruto’s Resignation in 48 hours

Ruto grabs a cup of tea during a break session of the Cabinet meeting in May 2024

Kenyan protesters have demanded President William Ruto to resign, just hours after he bowed down to mounting pressure and declined to assent to the controversial Finance Bill that has caused outrage among Kenyans across the country.

The protesters say they no longer recognize Ruto as their President.

“We, the citizens of the Republic of Kenya, hereby declare that we no longer recognize William Ruto as the President of Kenya. We recall his presidency and urge him to resign with immediate effect and surrender his office to the Kenyan people. His tenure has been marked by incompetence, mismanagement, and a persistent failure to address the pressing needs of our nation,” the statement issued by the protesters reads in part.

“We believe he is unfit to lead and demand his resignation forthwith. President Ruto’s administration has been characterized by a series of scandals, ineffective governance, and a blatant disregard for democratic principles. Under his leadership, Kenya has witnessed a decline in economic stability, increased corruption, and a deterioration in public trust. These issues have had a profound negative impact on the lives of ordinary Kenyans and have undermined the foundations of our democracy,” it adds.

This comes in the wake of Tuesday’s unprecedented and violent protests, where demonstrators breached the Parliament premises for the first time in the nation’s history. 

These protests also erupted in various streets across Kenya, vehemently opposing the Finance Bill.

Tuesday’s demonstrations were marked by significant violence, resulting in the tragic deaths of at least 13 people.

The protesters argued that the Finance Bill would increase taxes and raise the cost of living, disproportionately affecting the lower-income segments of the population. They voiced their concerns that the bill would exacerbate their financial burdens rather than alleviate them.

The Kenyan government, on the other hand, was defending the Finance Bill before President Ruto withdrew it on Wednesday, stating that it was intended to address the country’s escalating debt and reduce dependency on borrowing.

President yields to protesters’ demands 

“Listening keenly to the people of Kenya who have said loudly that they want nothing to do with this Finance Bill 2024, I concede and therefore, I will not sign the 2024 Finance Bill, and it will subsequently be withdrawn,” said Ruto while addressing the nation from State House Nairobi on Wednesday.

Despite the Bill’s withdrawal, the protesters have urged all Kenyans to join them in the call for Ruto’s immediate resignation.

“Our country deserves a leader who is dedicated to the principles of transparency, accountability, and good governance. We can no longer tolerate a presidency that is marred by such profound failures and abuses of power.”

The protesters who have largely received support from former President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Catholic Church of Kenya, opposition politicians, and professional bodies have now given Ruto only 48 hours to have tendered in his resignation.

“We give William Ruto 48 hours to issue a statement of resignation and to vacate his office. This period is essential for facilitating a peaceful and orderly transition of power, ensuring that our nation can begin to heal and move forward under new leadership that is committed to serving the interests of all Kenyans,” their statement reads.

“Our demand is grounded in a deep love for our country and a steadfast commitment to its future. We envision a Kenya where the rule of law is respected, where public officials are held accountable, and where every citizen has the opportunity to thrive. Achieving this vision requires new leadership, free from the taint of corruption and incompetence that has defined William Ruto’s presidency.”

Ruto had directed the deployment of the Kenyan Military to assist police to restore order, but his directive has been challenged by the Court and the Law Society of Kenya.

Protesters have called on all sectors of Kenyan society to intensify pressure on Ruto and demand him to vacate office.

“Our collective action is crucial for building a better Kenya. We must stand united in our pursuit of justice, democracy, and progress.”

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