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Protesters march while carrying placards and chanting slogans in the "Feminists March Against Femicide" in Kenya.

James Wakibia/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

Hard Numbers: Kenyans march against femicide, Corruption costs Ukrainian defense, Germans protest far right, Evergrande tries to avoid liquidation (again), Say more than ‘Oui’ to Paris!

14: So far this year, 14 women have been murdered as a result of gender-based violence in Kenya, and thousands took to the streets in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on Saturday in response. Nearly a third of Kenyan women face physical violence at some point in their lives, while 13% are victims of sexual violence, according to a 2023 government report.

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A supporter of Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga during an anti-government protest over new tax hikes.

REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Hard Numbers: Deadly Kenya protests, Tory losses, surfer-bruh sea otter, skyrocketing China-Russia oil trade, soaring sea temps

6: In Kenya, ongoing protests over tax hikes and cost-of-living frustrations have turned deadly. The police have been ordered not to report deaths, but a watchdog group has confirmed that at least six protesters were shot and killed by authorities this week.

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Riot police disperse supporters of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga in Nairobi.

REUTERS/Brian Otieno

As Kenyans protest, their politicians play chicken

For two weeks, Kenya's major cities have been hit by anti-government protests that have since turned violent. Security forces have tear-gassed demonstrators in the capital, Nairobi, while pro-government mobs ransacked former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s farm and businesses shut their doors for fear of looting.

With no end in sight, the next round of rallies is scheduled for Thursday.

Despite the institutional gains made over the last decade, the specter of previous episodes of political violence hangs heavy in Kenya. So, what’s going on?

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Supporters of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga throw stones at riot cops in Nairobi.

REUTERS/John Muchucha

What We’re Watching: Kenyan protest politics, twice the Ma in China, SNP names new leader

Anti-government protests escalate in Kenya

On Monday, hundreds of protesters stormed a controversial farm owned by Kenya’s former President Uhuru Kenyatta. The rioters stole livestock, cut down trees, and then set the land on fire.

The motive likely has something to do with the ongoing protests against the government of President William Ruto captained by opposition leader Raila Odinga, who narrowly lost the 2022 election to Ruto, Kenyatta’s ex-VP. (The members of this political threesome have all worked with each other in the past in Kenya, where elite business and politics are about as tight as can be.)

This behavior is nothing new for Odinga. While the protests are outwardly about the rising cost of living, Eurasia Group analyst Connor Vasey says that the opposition is just “taking his politics to the streets,” using inflation and other grievances as a “lightning rod to ensure turnout”. And while he is officially trying to overturn Ruto’s victory, Vasey believes that what Odinga really wants is an unofficial executive role in government.

From here, we can expect a test of political willpower. Odinga is threatening more rallies, while Ruto says he’ll continue to deploy the security forces against the protesters. The president hopes that if his rival doesn’t get his political concessions soon, popular support for his mobilization will subside.

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