Kenya: President Ruto Scraps Budget For First Lady’s Office, Dissolves 40 Agencies Amid Protests

In a decisive move on Friday, President William Ruto announced the elimination of the budget for the offices of Kenya’s first and second ladies, responding to nationwide protests.

During a live broadcast, President Ruto detailed additional austerity measures, including the dissolution of 47 state agencies and the suspension of non-essential travel for officials. “The number of advisors in government will be cut by 50% immediately,” Ruto stated. He confirmed that “the operations of the office of the first lady, second lady, and the wife of the prime cabinet will be removed.”

The president emphasized that “all non-essential travel by state and public officers is hereby suspended,” and declared, “no state officer or public servant will participate in harambee.” To align with the government’s commitment to austerity, Ruto announced the dissolution of 47 state corporations with overlapping functions, with affected staff being transferred to other ministries.

These actions follow three weeks of intense protests against the Finance Bill, which have significantly disrupted commercial activities. The protests escalated dangerously, with demonstrators occupying the parliament and clashing violently with police forces using teargas, water cannons, and live ammunition.

Graphic footage of police opening fire on protesters, along with images of spent bullet shells and the bodies of deceased demonstrators, have circulated widely online, inciting global outrage. Last Wednesday, amid growing pressure, President Ruto announced the withdrawal of the contentious Finance Bill.


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Amnesty International has accused President Ruto of using snipers to target protesters and has called for his trial at the International Criminal Court. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reported that 39 people have been killed, hundreds injured, and over 30 have disappeared, criticizing the police for using “excessive and disproportionate force.”

Migori County Governor Ochillo Ayacko condemned the police’s brutality, describing instances of officers shooting fleeing protesters in the back.

In a Sunday night interview, President Ruto denied allegations of responsibility for the bloodshed, asserting that he did not sanction the police’s lethal actions before retracting the Finance Bill.

Meanwhile, Kenyan authorities have declared certain anti-Finance Bill protesters wanted, as the demonstrations show no signs of abating.

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