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Kenyan Concert Honors Victims of Recent Protests, Demands Continued Change

© AP Photo / Brian IngangaProtesters block the busy Nairobi - Mombasa highway in the Mlolongo area, Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, July 2, 2024.
Protesters block the busy Nairobi - Mombasa highway in the Mlolongo area, Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, July 2, 2024.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 07.07.2024
The event was held on Saba Saba Day - a significant date in Kenya's history of political activism. The Saba Saba Day anniversary marks the 1990 protests that ultimately led to the end of the late Daniel Arap Moi's one-party rule and the return of multi-party politics in Kenya.
Hundreds of Kenyans gathered in Uhuru Park in Nairobi on Sunday, July 7, for a concert commemorating the 39 lives lost during recent anti-government protests. The event featured local artists and a somber mood as the crowd chanted slogans and danced in memory of those who died.
The protests, which began on June 18, were sparked by opposition to proposed tax hikes and calls for President William Ruto's resignation. Demonstrators argued the tax measures would further exacerbate the already high cost of living in Kenya.
While the government has since scrapped the controversial finance bill and proposed austerity measures to address the budget gap, the concert served as a platform to honor the sacrifices made.

"The government is listening now because of the protests. So we are kind of happy, but there's also a lot of sadness because so many people died for the government to listen," said activist Boniface Mwangi, attending the concert.

 - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 05.07.2024
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She added, "We're also mourning, and we're telling the families of those who lost their loved ones, we're with you, and we shall honor their sacrifice."
The crowd, holding placards bearing messages like "RIP, Comrades" and "We promise we'll keep fighting," reiterated their demands for change, chanting "Ruto must go."
The somber atmosphere was punctuated by the hammering of crosses into the ground, a stark reminder of the lives lost in the protests.