MENA Fem Movement for Economical, Development and Ecological Justice

Statement in Solidarity with People of Kenya

End Austerity Campaign stands in solidarity with people of Kenya, including the National Assembly, against austerity measures of Kenya’s proposed Finance bill 2024 that will further exacerbate the cost-of-living crisis, resulting in increased poverty and inequalities.

The Campaign also expresses outrage at the random abduction and intimidation of activists protesting the Bill. We are deeply concerned about the shrinking democratic spaces and human rights violations in Kenya, especially right to safety and security, right to freedom of expression, right to peaceful protests, and right to participate in democratic processes.

The Kenyan proposed Bill with increase in regressive taxes and reduction of budget expenditures of key sectors threatens people’s access to essential services and will deny majority a life with dignity. With escalating costs of living, the proposed regressive tax policies are unfair, unjust and are punitive for people, and will result in deepening inequalities that will disproportionately impact marginalised sections of society, especially women and girls.

Kenya, over the years, continues to fall deep into debt crisis as an outcome of unchecked borrowing and irresponsible lending by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), including, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It is estimated that in 2024, Kenya will allocate approximately seventy percent (70%) of its income to service debt and will pass the resulting austerity burden onto its people. Many people in Kenya are already struggling to make ends meet and these fiscal consolidations or austerity policies will further impoverish them.

We are calling on the Kenyan government to first release all abducted protestors. We further ask the government not to follow fiscal consolidation based on the IMF’s neoliberal policies that will only worsen poverty and inequalities, but to End Austerity by offering better alternatives and transformative solutions that are people centric and are not based on creditors pressures. We seek alternatives that place solidarity, equality, human rights and care at the heart of the economic model.

We, specifically urge the Kenyan government and the IMF that instead of punishing common people, they consider taxing the wealthy, corporations and the financial sector; fight illicit financial flows; restructure and reduce debt; reallocate public expenditures away from the military and regressive spending; and other equitable options available to governments.

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