How Criminals Hijacked Demos Against The 2024 Finance Bill

By The Weekly Vision Reporter

What began as peaceful protests against the now-shelved 2024 Finance Bill appears to have been hijacked by criminal elements who broke into shops and other business premises while looting valuable items in the process. The criminals took advantage of the confusion witnessed in Nairobi to vandalise businesses, setting some of the shops ablaze and leading to a standoff with anti-riot police. 

It was indeed a sad week for Kenya, as the country lost lives and property of unknown value. The gangs looted Naivas, Carrefour, Quickmart supermarkets and other businesses in the city, causing massive losses to traders. Experts, however, argue that this would not have happened had President William Ruto addressed the matter on time. Members of parliament also failed to read the public mood in the country after they rushed and passed the Finance Bill, thus exacerbating the already charged mood.

The president was forced to return the contentious bill to parliament, saying while many projects would grind to a halt, it was better to be late but avert a national crisis as had unfolded over the recent days, which has cast Kenya in a negative light around the world, scaring away investors and tourists. The utter senseless loss of lives and destruction of property has now ended up affecting the same families, who must now begin from scratch. 

The police must now move in and investigate and where possible, parade the perpetrators of these criminal acts in court. Where possible, police could use CCTV footage to crack down on the criminal elements so that a lesson can be taught to mobs to respect private property and not foment chaos so as to fish in troubled waters.

A businessman along the busy Kaunda Street in Nairobi had this to say: “I find this totally unacceptable, as it is now clear that criminals have hijacked the protests and have been invading several business premises to steal goods.” He added that issues to do with the contentious 2024 Finance Bill should now be shelved after the president declined to sign the bill into law.

We think the Gen Z protests have been hijacked by all manner of criminal elements and political actors who thrive on fishing in troubled waters and are now using undemocratic methods in a bid to derail the operations of a legally elected government voted for by the people, the trader said.