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The demonstration in Nairobi on Monday against proposed laws to raise taxes (OSV News/Monicah Mwang Reuters)

Kenya’s Catholic bishops have called for peace after the nation’s capital descended into chaos on Monday as protests over legislation dubbed a finance bill left 22 dead and dozens injured. Source: NCR Online.

The bishops spoke shortly after mostly young protesters overwhelmed riot police and stormed parliament buildings in Nairobi, where legislators had just passed the bill.

Amnesty Kenya said on social media platform X that those killed had been treating the injured. AP reported yesterday that the death toll had reached at least 22.

Parliament had approved the bill, moving it through to a third reading by lawmakers, and the legislation was sent to Kenyan President William Ruto for him to either sign it or send it back to Parliament. 

Reuters and other news outlets reported yesterday that the president said he was rejecting the finance bill and was withdrawing it.

The bill proposed increasing taxes on basic commodities such as bread, cooking oil, and phone and internet usage in order to reduce the nation’s budget deficit.

“The country is bleeding and therefore we invite the government to reflect on this matter with the seriousness it deserves,” Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba, president of the Kenyan bishops conference, told journalists on Monday.

“We appeal and plead that we have a moment of reflection and listening,” Archbishop Makumba said, adding that violence was nowhere in the initial aim of the youth protests. “We earnestly appeal to the police not to shoot at the protesters. We also appeal to the young people to remain peaceful.”

Earlier, Nairobi Archbishop Philip Subira Anyolo condemned the firing of bullets and tear gas canisters into the Holy Family Basilica, which is near parliament buildings and is where doctors had set up a rescue centre.

“This is very sad. We condemned it. The basilica is a holy sanctuary and that’s what it should remain,” Archbishop Anyolo told OSV News.


Kenya bishops plead for calm amid storming of parliament, deaths and injuries (By Frederick Nzwil, OSV News via NCR Online)