Kabaka Pyramid

Kabaka Pyramid Praises Kenyan Protests as a Source of Inspiration Despite Their Deadly Impact

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Jamaican reggae artist Kabaka Pyramid has publicly supported the ongoing protests in Kenya against the Finance Bill 2024, calling the demonstrators’ actions inspirational. The protests, which have seen citizens rally against proposed tax increases, have caught international attention, with Kabaka Pyramid voicing his solidarity with the Kenyan people.

“The courage of the Kenyan people is truly inspiring,” Kabaka Pyramid shared in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “More strength and perseverance to all the youth taking a stand against the tax increase in Kenya!” On Twitter, he echoed these sentiments, saying, “To the youth in Kenya, we see you, we are with you. Rastafari Live!”

In a video posted on both platforms, Kabaka Pyramid began by singing a part of his song “Well Done“, then delivered a message of support. “I want to send strength to all my family in Kenya who are protesting against the government. Stay safe but stand strong. In Jamaica, we understand what you’re going through. I hope my Jamaican people will also stand up and speak out about our government’s issues. What you’re doing in Kenya can inspire others worldwide to fight when necessary,” he stated.

The response to Kabaka Pyramid’s message was overwhelmingly positive, with many Kenyans and other Africans expressing gratitude and sharing their own frustrations. Some criticized President Ruto, accusing him of corruption and pandering to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The president is an imperialist puppet, flaunting wealth from corruption while our parliamentarians are the highest paid globally, bribed to pass IMF bills,” one Kenyan commented.

The Kenyan government defends the proposed taxes, which include levies on essentials like bread, vegetable oil, and sugar, and an “eco levy” on goods like sanitary towels and diapers. They argue these measures are needed to fund development projects and reduce national debt.

According to Reuters, the 2024/25 Finance Bill aims to generate $2.7 billion in additional taxes to cut the budget deficit and reduce borrowing, in line with IMF recommendations. However, protesters argue these taxes will worsen the economic conditions for many Kenyans.

“Kenya’s public debt is at 68% of GDP, above the 55% recommended by the World Bank and IMF. Facing severe liquidity challenges, Kenya has sought IMF support, which requires meeting revenue targets,” Reuters reported. Protesters argue the planned tax hikes will stifle the economy and increase the cost of living for already struggling citizens.

Protests intensified on Tuesday as lawmakers prepared to vote on the bill’s amendments. Al Jazeera reported that at least 22 people were killed and 160 injured as police used live ammunition on protesters attempting to storm Parliament. Simon Kigondu, president of the Kenya Medical Association, noted 13 deaths, describing the violence as unprecedented against unarmed civilians.

On Wednesday, CNN reported that President Ruto decided against signing the controversial finance bill. “After reflecting on the ongoing discussions about the Finance Bill 2024 and listening to the Kenyan people’s clear rejection of it, I will not sign the bill,” Ruto announced.

“The people have spoken,” Ruto continued. “The passage of the bill has led to widespread dissatisfaction, loss of life, destruction of property, and disrespect for constitutional institutions.”