These shootings, killings and abductions constitute crimes against humanity.

Article 1 of Kenya’s Constitution says, “All sovereign power belongs to the people”.

We stand in solidarity and commend the Kenyan youth who came out in large numbers to defend our rights by rejecting the punitive Finance Bill, 2024. This is our constitutional right, per Article 37 of the Kenyan Constitution.

As we mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture today, we are faced with a grim reminder of the dark days that Kenya faced before—killings, maiming, abductions, and disruptions of demonstrations.

The police shot young, unarmed protesters outside parliament, with the shootings and killings going into the night. Reports show that police shot several people in Githurai in Nairobi—one over 40 times—between 10 pm and 1 am, way after the protest ended.

We believe that the massacre that happened in Githurai was fueled by an inciteful, and insensitive address President William Ruto gave yesterday at State House. Ruto spoke at 9 pm and threatened Kenyans, and the massacre started at 10 pm.

The killings were further exacerbated by the deployment of the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF)—an illegal deployment per Article 241 (2, c) of Kenya’s Constitution, which requires the National Assembly first to approve such deployment.

As of yesterday evening, the Police Reforms Working Group (PRWG) recorded 23 deaths caused by police shootings nationwide. There were over 50 arrests, 22 abductions and over 300 injuries. Reports reaching us also indicate that police opened fire and killed several people in Githurai, Nairobi, last night.

Responsibility for these killings lies squarely with Ruto, even though he was not present on the street. He cannot escape accountability. Adamson Bungei, the immediate former Nairobi police commander, is equally liable.

Ruto has overseen a planned and executable massacre against peaceful protesters who came out across the country to protest the punitive Finance Bill, 2024.

These shootings, killings and abductions constitute crimes against humanity, making Kenya’s President, Ruto, yet again, a candidate for the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In Ruto’s address to the nation last night, he referred to the protests as treasonous acts. We want to clarify that it’s not protests and protesters who are treasonous. It is Ruto’s actions that are treasonous, as demonstrated by his failure to listen to the public’s grievances, illegal deployment of the military and the use of snipers to shoot, maim and kill unarmed protesters, among others.

Ruto also blamed the destruction of property on protestors. The protection of property and lives is vested in the state and, not citizens. Therefore, the destruction of property that happened was a security failure on the part of the state and this regime should take the blame.

Article 1 of Kenya’s Constitution says, “All sovereign power belongs to the people”. Therefore, when Kenyans poured into the streets yesterday in their numbers, they took back their power.

Parliament is Kenyans’ property. Anyone can access and occupy it because Kenyans hold the power. Police, at no point, are allowed to blast people’s heads, killing them inhumanely because they have occupied their rightful house.

We remind the president that Kenyans have vested him with authority. He should, therefore, respect the people`s will and constitutional rights. He must stop threatening Kenyans—there is nothing treasonous in Kenyans coming out to protest.

The claims that the protests are funded by external forces is a misguided and deliberate attempt by Ruto’s regime to spread a narrative that delegitimizes an organic, independent protest that has connected young people countrywide on the punitive Finance Bill, 2024 and other key governance issues.

Ruto must not sign the punitive Finance Bill, 2024 and pay attention to the concerns of Kenyans on governance issues. The right to assembly and picketing is a constitution provision.

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