Sunday, July 21, 2024

I have heard your cries! UDA MP GEOFREY RUKU withdraws the controversial bill and apologizes to Kenyans for wanting to curtail and limit their freedoms.

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Kenyans have won again after Mbeere North MP and President Wiliam Ruto’s ally Geoffrey Ruku announced the withdrawal of the highly contentious bill aimed at tightening regulations on public demonstrations across Kenya.

The proposed legislation, known as the Assembly and Demonstration Bill, 2024, had sparked widespread criticism and heated protests since its introduction last year.

“I have listened to the concerns raised by Kenyans, and in light of their feedback, I will be formally requesting the Speaker of the National Assembly to withdraw the Assembly and Demonstration Bill, 2024,” Ruku stated.

The bill aimed to grant extensive powers to law enforcement authorities to curb demonstrations deemed disruptive to public order.

Among its provisions were stringent penalties, including fines of up to 100,000 Kenyan shillings and potential jail terms for violators.

It also mandated rigorous pre-event notification requirements, which many viewed as overly restrictive on the constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly.

Initially touted as a measure to regulate public gatherings in accordance with Article 37 of Kenya’s constitution, which guarantees the right to assemble peacefully, the bill quickly became a lightning rod for criticism. 

Critics argued that it undermined fundamental freedoms and gave excessive authority to law enforcement agencies.

The backlash against the bill intensified in recent weeks amid escalating protests against government policies, originally sparked by opposition to a controversial finance bill but quickly evolving into broader anti-government demonstrations.

Protesters took to the streets nationwide, demanding the bill’s withdrawal and condemning what they saw as attempts to silence dissent.

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