Ruto’s backyard joins anti Finance Bill demos

Youths from President William Ruto’s Eldoret backyard, Uasin Gishu county Thursday morning joined their counterparts from other key towns across the country in demonstrations against Finance Bill 2024.

The Occupy Eldoret demos in support of the push to reject the Finance Bill saw an outpour of young demonstrators in a show that could only be equated to the euphoria that was witnessed during celebrations when President William Ruto who hails from the region was declared the winner of the 2022 General Elections and when he was sworn into office.

The demonstrators caused excitement in the town, receiving a good reception from onlookers who expressed solidarity and cheered them on, as they went round the town several times.

It was a euphoric moment for Eldoret residents with the protestors using the same routes that voters used to celebrate President Ruto’s victory in 2022 and to stage previous political statements in the region.

A majority of the protestors were the Gen Z community, with a few millennials joining them in the demos that appeared to be very organized.

Waving protest placards and chanting anti-Finance Bill, anti-Ruto, anti-government tunes, the protestors had initially organized themselves in about four groups in their hundreds, converging at different spots on the outskirts of the Eldoret Central Business District from between 9am to 11am.

The messages were strong- that Ruto must go, Occupy Eldoret-Reject Finance Bill, with protestors reminding their elected leaders, and MPs in particular that they were watching them as they voted on Thursday afternoon, further reminding them that they would meet them on the ground come 2027.

Shortly before noon, they finally merged at the Zion Mall junction along the main Eldoret-Uganda highway, the only main highway through Eldoret Town, bringing business and traffic along the highway to a complete standstill.

The first group had converged at Zion Mall, another one at Paul’s Bakery spot, another one at Rift Valley Technical Training Institute (RVTTI), and another one at the Eldoret CBD near Silver Line. As noon approached the groups merged, in their thousands in a euphoric display.

There was no single case of tear gas canisters being lobbed as police walked alongside the protestors. While there was a heavy presence of police, the law enforcement officers were peacefully guiding and protecting the demonstrators, with no incident of violence or confrontation being reported by the time of going to press.

The police officers guided the demonstrators on using the main Uganda highway through the town, which saw the protestors organize themselves to spare one lane for motorists.

As the day progressed and their numbers kept growing, so did the number of police officers deployed kept increasing.

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