Home News Malema endorses anti-finance protests, criticizes IMF and World Bank

Malema endorses anti-finance protests, criticizes IMF and World Bank

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Julius Malema, the prominent leader of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has publicly supported the protests against Kenya’s Finance Bill 2024. Known for his outspoken nature, Malema criticized the influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank on Kenya’s financial policies.

In a forceful statement on Monday, Malema called for resistance against the IMF and World Bank, accusing them of being behind the controversial Bill. He stated, “The Finance Bill, which seeks to generate $2.7 billion in additional taxes, will inevitably increase the cost of living and production, further straining the people of Kenya who, like us, are already suffering from severe economic hardships.”

Malema’s support extends to the Generation Z-led protests, which have grown into a national movement demanding the withdrawal of the Bill. While President William Ruto’s government has promoted the Bill’s long-term benefits, Malema argues for breaking ties with the IMF and World Bank, citing their detrimental impact on developing countries.

He emphasized, “The IMF and World Bank have a notorious history of treating African economies like experimental subjects for neoliberal policies.”

Previously critical of President Ruto’s foreign policies and unfulfilled campaign promises, Malema also called on the police to protect the protesters’ right to peaceful demonstration. “The use of tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets against citizens exercising their right to protest is unacceptable. We urge the government to de-escalate police action and respect the people’s right to peaceful assembly. All arrested individuals should be released immediately,” he said.

The National Assembly is set to vote on the Bill on Tuesday, following the consideration of various amendments. Despite public opposition, the government’s majority in the House is expected to secure the Bill’s passage, having already seen 204 members vote in favor during the second reading, with 115 opposing.

The Bill now moves to the Committee of the Whole House for votes on individual clauses and proposed amendments, with government-aligned leaders confident of its eventual passage despite looming electoral concerns for 2027.