Kenya dispatch: Kenyans endure a weekend of abductions and nights of terror after youth protests against Finance Bill Dispatches
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Kenya dispatch: Kenyans endure a weekend of abductions and nights of terror after youth protests against Finance Bill

David Odero is a law student at Kisii University and a special correspondent for JURIST. He filed this dispatch from Nairobi. 

Friday through Sunday, 21st – 23rd of June, were marked in Kenya by a series of abductions of anti-Finance Bill 2024 activists while the number of those who died as a result of the Thursday demonstrations rose to 2 as another injured person succumbed to his injuries Friday night.

The abductions started on Friday at around midday when a popular comedian was captured by police in front of Kenya’s parliament buildings and taken to an undisclosed place later that evening. On the same evening, another young man, Billy Simoni, known for his vocal nature on X (formerly known as Twitter) was abducted in his home by unknown people. He was later released later released on Saturday evening.

On Sunday morning, Kenyans woke up to the news of the abduction of a medical doctor. He was alleged to have been taken by officers of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers dressed in civilian clothing, his offence having been organizing a blood drive at Union Sikh for the people who had been injured during the Thursday demonstrations. Prior to that, the doctor had been receiving threat messages from unknown persons and therefore anticipated his abduction and even informed his close friends. He was later released, two hours after Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) released an official statement stating that they would go on strike had the doctor not been released.

Later that evening, Shadrack Kiprono, another radical Anti-Finance Bill activist was abducted as he was about to enter his car. This was captured by a CCTV camera and his whereabouts are unknown until now. This evening, another online protester has been abducted by police officers at gunpoint.

The striking feature in these abductions is that the victims were not booked at any police station, derailing the integrity of the criminal justice system. The people being abducted are being interrogated on who is funding the ongoing demonstrations and the logins to their X accounts being demanded. The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has maintained their position in supporting the demonstrations, with a battery of lawyers at their disposal.

The slogan #RejectFinanceBill2024 is now a nationwide slogan as the church has joined in vocalizing the same. The president has offered to have a talk with the young people advocating the rejection of the Finance Bill 2024. However, the movement does not have one leader and is adamant to have a sit-down with the president. In my opinion, the series of abductions are being orchestrated to instill fear among the young people who are at the forefront of the ongoing revolution. However, this move has kindled a flame and aroused a spirit of solidarity instead of fear. The state is supposed to protect its people and not fight against its own. There will be no retreat any time soon as the song goes on #RejectFinanceBill2024.