Nairobi News

LifeMust ReadNews

‘Occupy Parliament’ protests disrupt businesses in Nairobi’s CBD

Business in Nairobi’s central business district was disrupted on Tuesday after demonstrators protested against the Finance Bill 2024.

Many offices and business premises remained either shut or partially opened with the transport sector in the CBD bearing the brunt of the low business.

The situation was worsened when police started hulling teargas to the protesters.

Police threw tear gas canisters at hundreds of protesters, forcing businesses to close for fear of looting and also feared for their safety.

“Disruption started at around midday when the protesters started running away from the police and it has affected our businesses,” Wilfred Odoyo a trader along Kimathi Street, said.

A spot check by Nation.Africa showed that business people operating exhibition stalls within the CBD trading in clothes, jewellery, mobile phones and shoes closed their shops immediately after the chaos started.

Most traders, just like the case in other city locations, closed or kept off their premises as a precaution against losing their wares.

The protest came ahead of the tabling of the Finance Bill, 2024 report by the National Assembly’s Finance and Planning Committee.

Kenyans who attempted to assemble outside the Nation Centre, National Archives, Kencom and Jeevanjee grounds were swiftly arrested.

Civil society groups say demonstrations and a planned sit-in outside parliament will go ahead despite the arrests.

Nairobi police commander Adamson Bungei said on Tuesday that no group had been given permission to protest in the capital. The right to peaceful protest is guaranteed in Kenya’s constitution, but organisers must notify the police in advance. Police generally give the go-ahead unless there are security concerns.

Some major tax proposals in the bill were dropped after a meeting between ruling party MPs and President William Ruto on Tuesday morning.

Finance committee chairman Kuria Kimani said the proposal to impose a 16% VAT on bread had been dropped.

Other levies that had sparked debate and were amended include a proposed 2.5% annual vehicle tax to be levied on insurance.