William Ruto bows to protestors’ demands, makes major concessions

Kenyan shilling weakening against global and regional currencies
Kenya President William Ruto

Nairobi, Kenya | By Michael Wandati | On Friday, Kenyan President William Ruto announced major reductions in the federal budget along with other governmental reforms to address a substantial debt burden. This move is viewed as a response to widespread disapproval of a proposed tax bill that led to violent protests.

In the wake of weeks of demonstrations, during which dozens reportedly lost their lives, President William Ruto retracted a finance bill that aimed to generate $2.7 billion primarily through tax hikes to service the debt. As a compromise, Ruto proposed a plan to cut $1.39 billion from the budget and borrow the remaining amount.

To implement this plan, Ruto stated that his administration will dissolve 47 state corporations with redundant functions and cut the number of government advisors by 50 percent, among other measures.

President Ruto also announced that the appointments for Chief Administrative Secretaries would be suspended and that government funds would not be used for the offices of the First Lady, the Deputy President’s spouse, and the Prime Cabinet Secretary. Additional measures were also outlined.

“Public servants who attain retirement age of 60 shall be required to immediately proceed on retirement with no extensions,” President Ruto said.

Also Read: “Stop killing our children,” enraged Raila Odinga tells William Ruto

Additionally, President Ruto announced a 12-month suspension on the government’s purchase of new motor vehicles, except for security agencies. He also suspended all nonessential travel by state and public officers. These measures were among the demands made by the protesters.

President Ruto further stated that he has appointed an independent task force to conduct a thorough forensic audit of the country’s public debt.

“This audit will provide Kenyans with clarity on the extent and nature of our debt and how public resources have been expanded and also recommend proposals for managing public debt in a manner that is sustainable and does not burden future generations,” he said.

According to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), nearly 40 people have died and 360 have been injured nationwide since the protests began three weeks ago.