FILE PHOTO: A riot police officer stands near supporters of Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga of the Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) One Kenya Alliance, during an anti-government protest against the imposition of tax hikes by the government, in Mathare settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, July 12, 2023. REUTERS/John Muchucha/File Photo
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A former senior governance advisor to the United Nations, Prof. Baffour Agyeman-Duah, has said the recent disturbances in Kenya was not caused by the decision of the government to pass a new tax bill.

He says although the bill might have served as the immediate trigger to the issue, the real cause, he says, is the accumulated vengeance the people have harboured against the political elites over the years.

The Chief Executive of the John Agyekum Kufuor foundation says the lifestyle gap between the political elites and the masses is wide, indicating that the politicians have managed the economy poorly.

Speaking on the KeyPoints on TV3 Saturday, June 29, 2024, Prof. Agyeman-Duah noted that the government needs to reconsider the expenditure it incurs on its public officials.

“So, their anger was not simply against the taxation. That was the immediate trigger. But there have been some accumulated vengeance against these political elites in terms of how they have managed their country and that is a big lesson for all of us. The divide between the elite and citizens. That divide is getting wider so that when a country is facing crisis just as Ghana and Kenya are facing and the leadership is not looking at the expenditure side, most of it service the public official,” he told Alfred Ocansey, host the show.

Several people were killed and hundreds injured as thousands of demonstrators stormed Kenya’s parliament to protest a controversial tax bill on Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds.

At least three of the dead were shot as protesters overwhelmed police as they entered and set fire to parts of the parliament buildings.

Addressing the nation, Kenyan President William Ruto called the storming of parliament promised to prevent it from happening again “at whatever cost.”

The protests forced lawmakers to flee the legislature where earlier they had debated and passed the unpopular bill.

The bill included new taxes on items such as bread, vegetable oil, sugar, and manufactured goods, including sanitary towels and diapers. The government says the taxes are necessary to fund development programs and reduce the country’s public debt.

If we are not careful, what is happening in Kenya will be replicated in Ghana – Dr. Nyaho-Tamakloe