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African leader sacks entire cabinet

William Ruto’s controversial tax reforms have led to weeks of unrest in Kenya

Kenyan President William Ruto has dismissed all of his cabinet ministers and vowed to form a new government, following three weeks of deadly protests over tax hikes and government inefficiency. 

Ruto announced the move in an address to the nation on Thursday, stating that he would retain only Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi.

“I will immediately engage in extensive consultations across different sectors and political formations and other Kenyans, both in public and private, with the aim of setting up a broad-based government,” Ruto said in the address. “During this process, the operations of government will continue uninterrupted.”

Ruto unveiled a program of tax hikes last month, in a bid to fill a $2.7 billion hole in the country’s budget. The bill, backed by the International Monetary Fund, was unpopular, and set off nationwide protests and rioting. 

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A protester is arrested by Kenya anti-riot police during an anti-government demonstration called following nationwide deadly protests over tax hikes and a controversial now-withdrawn tax bill in downtown Nairobi, on July 2, 2024.
Kenyan police declare zero tolerance on violent protests

Demonstrators stormed the parliament after the bill’s passage last month, and riot police cracked down on stone-throwing protesters in Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa. More than 40 people were killed and hundreds more injured by the time Ruto withdrew the bill earlier this month. 

At that time, Ruto stated that dropping the bill would set the country back two years and force Nairobi to borrow $7.6 billion to fund the government. The president maintained that the bill was necessary, and that if he was “given a chance to explain to the people of Kenya what the finance bill was all about and what it would have done for them, then every Kenyan would agree with me.”

“I have graciously said we will drop the finance bill, but it will have huge consequences,” he said.

Thursday’s layoffs mark the second time Ruto has reshuffled his cabinet. The Kenyan leader replaced the heads of eight ministries in 2023 in a bid to assuage public anger over the country’s economic woes. 

July 11, 2024 at 08:49PM
RT

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