One man was shot dead in Kenya on Friday, a hospital official said, following anti-government protests over a cost-of-living crisis and a raft of controversial tax hikes. Police earlier fired tear gas on opposition leader Raila Odinga’s convoy after he addressed a rally in the capital Nairobi, AFP correspondents said, taking similar action to break up protests in the cities of Kisumu and Mombasa as rights groups condemned “arbitrary arrests”.
“One person died of gunshot wounds”, said Alex Ochieng, administrator at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching & Referral Hospital in Kisumu, an opposition stronghold on Lake Victoria in western Kenya.
“We have two other people with gunshot wounds and four who were hit by blunt objects,” he told reporters, adding that the fatality was a man.
An AFP correspondent also witnessed police making several arrests in Nairobi, with security tightened for the latest round of protests called by Odinga this year against the policies of President William Ruto’s government.
At the rally, Odinga announced plans to collect 10 million signatures in a bid to remove his arch-rival from office.
The 78-year-old lost the closely fought August 2022 election to Ruto and has repeatedly denounced the poll as “stolen”.
“Kenyans elected leaders to parliament and they have betrayed them,” he said to cheers. “Ruto himself who took over power illegally has betrayed Kenyans.
Odinga’s Azimio alliance had called for protests over the impact of the new taxes on Kenyans already suffering economic hardship and soaring prices for basic necessities.
Last week, Ruto signed into law a finance bill which is expected to generate more than $2.1 billion for the government’s depleted coffers and help repair the heavily indebted economy.
The Finance Act provides for new taxes or increases on a range of basic goods such as fuel and food and mobile money transfers, as well as a controversial levy on all tax-paying Kenyans to fund a housing scheme. Previous protests have sometimes descended into violence and looting, with two people killed in separate clashes between police and demonstrators in March.
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