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Kenya Regains Normalcy After Weeks Of Protests

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Normalcy has returned to the country after weeks of protests that resulted in dozens of deaths and widespread disruption, with a sigh of relief seen in the streets and main roads of the capital Nairobi, where people flocked to main markets to purchase daily necessities.

Anadolu carried out a spot check on Thursday and found businesses operating normally, with shoppers filling the streets and traffic moving through the capital’s major Central Business District (CBD).

However, some of the traders were seen standing with wooden sticks outside their shops on Ronald Ngala streets.

“From last week, we have been protecting our shops from looters, as some of us have lost a lot of goods, and we are deeply in debt. But now happy that the situation is stabilizing,” Brian Ouma, who owns a shoe shop on the popular street, told Anadolu.

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“It’s good to see people back on the streets, businesses open, and life returning to normal.”

With the government jittery and on edge, police vehicles remained parked in strategic locations as officers patroled the streets, with scars from the protests, such as broken windows, looted shops, burned-out tyres, and barricade debris, could still be seen in some areas.

The demonstrations, which were initially sparked by proposed tax hikes, have recently seen dwindling participation due to widespread chaos, robberies, and vandalism, with activists and youth on social media urging people not to protest, citing infiltration by looters.

At least 39 people were killed in protests, which began on June 18 over planned tax hikes, according to a report by the state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).

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The Finance Bill 2024 that brought about the unrest was a cornerstone of Kenya’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), aimed at addressing the country’s fiscal challenges, it included tax increases aimed at raising more than $2.7 billion in revenue for the government’s ambitious Ksh 4.2 trillion ($30.6 billion) 2024-25 budget.

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Meanwhile, Kenyan President William Ruto vowed Thursday to take action against those police officers who injured protesters.

Ruto promised in a statement issued after a Cabinet meeting, “They will be dealt with by legal procedure and by the institutions mandated to do so.”

In a previous statement, he said the cost of protest-related damage was in the millions of dollars.


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