The Kenyan Revolution has begun



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Today, the hated Finance Bill 2024, which sparked an unprecedented movement of Kenyan youth last week, was brought before parliament for its third and final reading. Before the session began, enormous throngs were descending on Nairobi Central Business District, heading for the parliament building. At 2.15pm, MPs passed the bill by 195 votes to 106. Within 40 minutes, the insurrectionary masses had stormed parliament and MPs were fleeing in panic.

From the start, today had a different mood to last week. How quickly consciousness changes in a revolutionary situation!

Last week, MPs complained that their phones were rendered useless by the thousands of messages (in one case, over 30,000) being sent their way. A week ago, the masses could be seen carrying thousands of handwritten protest signs. The youth have tried to beseech their ‘representatives’, to appeal to them to listen.

But if last week made one thing clear it is this: the eyes and ears of the MPs are blind and deaf to the masses’ needs. They do not represent the masses at all. In fact, that is not their role. They are the stewards of the interests of the ruling class, and of the imperialist institutions, the IMF and World Bank.

Today was different. There was barely a single sign or placard in sight. The time for ‘dialogue’ and appeals is over. Now is the time for action to sweep this ruling gang out.

Before dawn, the regime had tried to nip the movement in the bud by abducting a few social media influencers. If they seriously thought this would dampen the mood, then their general level of intelligence clearly rises no higher than that of a provincial police thug.

By morning, the streets of cities across 34 of 47 counties were flooded with masses of youthful crowds, who added demands for the freeing of those abducted to their calls for the rejection of the Finance Bill and the downfall of Ruto.

Fearless in their numbers, no force could stop them. The government, however, arrogantly attempted to ignore the movement on the street. In the early afternoon, MPs voted through Finance Bill 2024. Ever-greater misery, through IMF-imposed taxes on everything from sanitary pads to cancer care, thus came one step closer for the masses. What happened next unfolded quickly, and this murderous government will no doubt try to twist the order of events.

What is clear is that the peaceful masses had not placed a foot inside the parliament premises when armed police (and possibly snipers) fired live rounds on the unarmed crowd. Even paramedics attending to the wounded were fired upon with live rounds. News sources are reporting that 10 were killed and 50 more injured.

The rage of the masses could not be contained. The body of one victim was brought to the parliament gates to shame the murderers hiding within. Short work was made of the police, who were swept aside as the parliament building was stormed.

Sri Lanka arrives in Kenya

What followed brought back memories of those spectacular events in Sri Lanka in 2022. Back then, we saw ordinary Sri Lankans swimming in the president’s luxury pool. The mood was one of jubilation as the movement swept aside all obstacles.

And today we saw similar scenes in Kenya, which has now also entered onto the path of revolution! We saw ordinary Kenyan youths sitting in the Speaker’s chair; eating from the parliamentary canteen; and most iconic of all, marching through the streets with the parliamentary Mace!

These are potent scenes. The carrying off of a useless bauble like the ceremonial Mace may seem insignificant. It is not. The ruling class retains these pompous little symbols and ceremonies for a reason. They are there to give the state a mystical, hallowed aura. They send a message to the masses: “You cannot touch the sacred apparatus of the state. It is great, whereas you are not. It does not belong to you. Only a select few worthy men may take charge of it.”

Today’s revolutionary events, which have burst the barriers designed to keep the masses within strict channels, have shattered that mystique. The masses have learnt that they can interfere in the state and bring its functions to a complete halt.

The elation of the masses was matched by the shock of the ruling class and their MPs. They thought they were inviolable behind their gates and armed guards, in their halls of power and their luxury apartments.

Many MPs apparently fainted, before recovering their senses and fleeing, when they heard that the masses had broken into the building. It is rumoured that many MPs are now drawing up exit plans to evacuate themselves and their families from the country. We saw the same thing in Sri Lanka!

Whilst spectacular events unfolded in and around the parliament building, the overflowing rage of the masses was seen countrywide. At Nairobi City Hall, Governor Johnson’s office was set ablaze.

Elsewhere, government buildings were stormed or surrounded. In Mombasa, the Governor’s house was targeted, while the Governor’s house and the UDA party offices were set ablaze in Embu. In Nanyuki, the Laikipia County Assembly was set ablaze. Running battles were fought between police and protesters in Murang’a. In Kisii, protestors attempted to storm the home of a local MP.

The fact that many MP’s businesses were attacked – including a supermarket belonging to one, and a luxury night club belonging to another – shows the class hatred simmering in these protests. These MPs are hated as part and parcel of a ruling class that leeches the nation’s wealth.

And yet, as evening falls, the government still stands. Tomorrow, the clean up of the parliament building will begin, and then the MPs will return.

Ruto has just finished giving a press conference in which he has insulted the youth of Kenya, denouncing them as “treasonous criminals”. He has threatened to bring the full force of the security apparatus down on their heads. Far from cowing the masses, his words will make them choke with anger and redouble their determination.

The question is posed: what are the next steps to clear out this murderous president and his criminal government?


It is impossible not to see parallels between what is unfolding now and the events in Sri Lanka in 2022. Kenyan communists and revolutionaries have a duty to absorb the lessons of that movement two years ago, which we wrote about extensively at the time.

It too was a spontaneous movement. What characterised that movement, like the present one, was a mood of hatred towards all the parties of the ruling class.

The slogan of the Kenyan youth, “fearless, tribeless, partyless,” echoes that same sentiment. It is an excellent slogan, insofar as it expresses a distrust of the established parties, and the unity of the masses against the divisions that those parties and leaders try to inculcate among them.

Rejection of all the established, pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist parties and political leaderships is correct.

We saw today how the opportunists of Odinga’s opposition Azimio party – which only hours before was trying to amend and not reject the Finance Bill – tried to make a show of joining the protests in front of the media. These wolves in sheep’s clothing defend the same rotten system as Ruto. They must be spat out and rejected by the movement.

Nonetheless, nature abhors a vacuum. Leadership – in the sense of a political direction, a programme, and appropriate tactics – is necessary. If good leadership is not found, bad leadership will be found.

That happened in Sri Lanka. There the masses rejected all parties. But unable to remain mobilised on the streets indefinitely, the masses sought a point of reference that had some semblance of authority in their eyes to offer a permanent way forward.

This role was taken up by the lawyers, who had gained authority in the movement by vigorously defending those arrested by the regime. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka, representing the lawyers, stepped forward with a programme to remove the old president… and replace him with another puppet of the same ruling clique.

This accidental leadership had no intention of addressing the real root of the crisis in Sri Lanka: the crisis-ridden capitalist system, which ties Sri Lanka to world imperialism. They therefore played the most lamentable role, helping the Sri Lankan ruling class to defuse the situation, waiting whilst bad leadership demoralised and exhausted the masses, before finally stepping in to drive them off the streets.

Only a leadership built from within the revolutionary movement, genuinely expressing its interests and with a clear programme to strike at the root of Sri Lankan capitalism, could have prevented such an outcome.

The Kenyan revolution is at a much earlier stage. It remains on an upward curve. However, time is of the essence. Today’s events have given the masses an elated sense of their power. But the job is not done. In order to become law, President Ruto must now ratify Finance Bill 2024, which he seems determined to do. To stop the Finance Bill, Ruto and his government must be swept aside.

And replaced with what? Another capitalist government that will do the bidding of the IMF and World Bank? The opposition is no alternative. They would carry out the same programme in power.

The working class, the youth and the poor must create an alternative. They represent the overwhelming majority of society. The ruling clique represents a tiny minority. But what the latter have over the masses, which allows them to wait out the movement on the streets, is organisation. They are organised through the state, political parties, and through business syndicates, and they have the full force of imperialism at their backs.

The revolutionary movement must meet their organised violence with organisation of their own. By organising committees in every community, in every school and in every workplace, wider layers of the masses can be brought systematically into the struggle. Such committees could organise fraternisation with the armed bodies of the state, encouraging the impoverished lower ranks to follow the masses’ lead, raising their own demands and forming their own committees. In such a way, the state itself could be divided and neutralised as a tool of murder in the hands of the ruling clique.

And by linking up on a regional and national basis, such committees could provide an alternative power to the state. Through such bodies, the masses could commence a real struggle for power, to smash the old capitalist state, which cloaks its real functions behind a treacherous veneer of ‘democracy’; to cancel the debt, expropriate big business and foreign capital, and reconstruct society on the basis of a socialist economic plan.

What a beacon for the oppressed masses of Africa and the whole world a workers’ socialist republic of Kenya would be!

Down with the Finance Bill!

Down with Ruto and the whole corrupt establishment!

Victory to the Kenyan Revolution!