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VIDEO: Gachagua a no-show as President Ruto succumbs to pressure, withdraws contentious Finance Bill



Kenya’s President William Ruto succumbed  to mounting public pressure and announced on Wednesday that he would withhold his signature to the controversial Finance Bill 2024 which has been a subject of intense debate in the country.

This decision follows a series of protests nationwide, largely led by Kenyan youth, who argue that the proposed tax measures would further strain an already burdened population.

President Ruto, speaking from State House alongside allied parliamentarians, acknowledged the overwhelming rejection of the bill by Kenyans. “After careful consideration of the ongoing discourse surrounding the Finance Bill 2024, I have decided not to assent to it,” he declared. “Therefore, I will not be signing the Finance Bill 2024, and it will subsequently be withdrawn as agreed with my colleagues.”

However, conspicuously absent was President Ruto’s deputy, Rigath Gachagua, with whom he has had public spats in the recent past.

Furthermore, President Ruto pledged to engage directly with the youth of Kenya to better understand their concerns and priorities. “I propose meaningful dialogues with our young citizens to address their key issues and reach mutual agreements.”

Looking ahead, the President emphasized the necessity for a comprehensive national dialogue on public debt and the country’s future trajectory. “I also recommend convening a multi-sectoral, multistakeholder forum within the next 14 days to address not only the contents of the bill but also related matters such as the call for fiscal discipline and intensified anti-corruption efforts.”

In his address, President Ruto also called for immediate austerity measures to curb expenditure. “I direct an immediate reduction in spending, starting from the Office of the President and extending across the entire executive branch,” he mandated. “This includes slashing operational costs within the Presidency, eliminating allocations for confidential expenses, cutting down on travel budgets, hospitality expenses, vehicle purchases, renovations, and other non-essential expenditures.”

This move by President Ruto marks a significant response to public sentiment and sets the stage for broader consultations and fiscal adjustments aimed at addressing Kenya’s economic challenges.

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