Photo: @justoasikoye

Kenyan Diaspora Protests Finance Bill 2024 at Washington Embassy

Young Kenyan Diaspora joins protest against Finance Bill with demonstrations in front of Kenyan embassy in Washington D.C.

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Following the Gen-Z-led tax Finance Bill protest that spread like wildfire nationwide, the Kenyan diaspora, mostly in the same generation, took to the Kenyan embassy in Washington D.C on June 23 to protest, aligning with their fellow countrymen at home.

The peaceful protest was organized through online channels with calls-to-action from Kenyan diaspora creators including Ali Badawi of One Mic Show via Instagram

The protest had Kenyan flags flying while the protesters sang traditional protest songs. Despite the closed embassy doors and the presence of U.S. law enforcement, the demonstrators remained undeterred.

Justo D Otongo Asikoye, Grammy Award-nominee who became one of the award’s voting members in 2022 could be seen – in a bucket hat – holding a Kenyan flag. In an Instagram video by Kitale Gossip News, the protesters could be seen chanting “Ruto Must Go” while they remained peaceful 

Justo D Otongo Asikoye in the middle 

Another group of young social media influencers voiced strong opposition to President William Ruto’s administration and its proposed Finance Bill. The demonstrators, echoing nationwide sentiment, chanted, “Bado mapambano!” (The struggle continues!) and “One Kenya, One people, one voice!”

Protesters brandished placards emblazoned with hashtags such as #RejectFinanceBill and #RutoMustGo, visually reinforcing their message. These young protesters pledged to use their platforms to amplify the concerns of Kenyans who feel burdened by the bill’s potential implications.

President Ruto has come out on Sunday, June 23 to respond to eth young protesters—home and abroad. Speaking at a church service in Nyahururu on Sunday, Ruto commended the demonstrators for their peaceful approach and declared his readiness for dialogue.

@maureen.mambo.18 on Insatagram

“I am very proud of our young people… they have stepped forward peacefully, and I want to tell them we are going to engage them,” Ruto stated, marking his first public response to the protests. He added, “We are going to have a conversation so that together we can build a greater nation.”

The demonstrations, primarily organized through social media by Gen-Z Kenyans who have been livestreaming the events, have caught the government off-guard. These protests reflect growing discontent with Ruto’s economic policies.

Despite Ruto’s characterization of the protests as “peaceful,” rights campaigners have reported two fatalities following June 20’s demonstrations in Nairobi. The president’s comments also come in the wake of law enforcement using tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters near parliament, though most demonstrations remained non-violent.

The protest organizers, who have called for a national strike on June 25, have yet to respond to Ruto’s overture. As tensions simmer, all eyes are now on how this proposed dialogue might unfold and whether it can address the concerns driving these widespread demonstrations.

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