Politicians fan the flames of public discontent in Kenya

By July 24, 2023

Kenya (MNN) — Kenyan streets are quiet again after the latest round of anti-tax demonstrations.

By Friday there was “hardly any sign of protests, at least in Nairobi,” Trans World Radio’s Bernice Gatere says.

“Shops are open, public transport is back, and kids are back to school.”

Political opposition leader Raila Odinga recently called for a three-day protest beginning July 19. Gatere urged TWR Kenya staff to work from home on Wednesday because “when [there are] protests, it interrupts the transport system so people are not able to get to work or to get back to their homes.”

Police arrested 300 people nationwide on Wednesday as ongoing protests escalated. The United Nations says up to 23 people have been killed in police-protestor clashes this month, but the Kenyan government disputes this figure.

Amnesty International reports 30 civilian deaths since March.

“Protesting is enshrined in the Constitution, but it is peaceful [protesting,]” Gatere says.

“Unfortunately, protests always seem to turn violent, and the police then respond with too much force.”

Economic hardship is driving people into the streets. “The cost of living continued to increase with the new government, which came into power with a promise of lowering the cost of living, especially for the poor,” Gatere says.

Believers call for peace as politicians fan the flames of public discontent. “Church leaders offered to mediate in differences between the opposition leader and the president,” Gatere says.

“The Body of Christ has been involved in trying to get the two sides to talk instead of going into the streets. The dialogue did start, and then the talks collapsed.”

Pray that politicians will stop instigating unrest in Kenya.

“They (opposition leaders) haven’t given a timetable for the next round [of protests], but they’re saying this is not the end,” Gatere says.

“We expect that as soon as they have recovered from this one, they’ll be strategizing and then giving their supporters the next course of action.”



Header image is a representative stock photo depicting activity on a street in Nairobi. (Photo courtesy of Nicholas Gray/Unsplash)