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Ruto Pulls Out Of Global Peace Leadership Meeting 

Ruto Pulls Out Of Global Peace Leadership Meeting

President William Ruto will not attend the Global Peace Leadership Conference scheduled this week in Nairobi, its organisers said on Wednesday.

The summit was slated from Tuesday, June 25, through Thursday, June 27, to bring delegates worldwide to “explore and discuss ways to promote peace, development, and cooperation”, per its promotional materials.

However, organisers announced in the morning that the opening ceremony had been cancelled as a result of “the events over the last two days in Kenya, the loss of lives, and the casualties of the protests at the Parliament on June 25.”

They said Ruto was no longer attending the conference.

“We mourn those who have died, pray for a full recovery for those who were injured, and hope for healing for this nation so that it can find a way forward towards a future that benefits all its people,” read a statement shared online.

The Global Peace Leadership Conference is organised by the Global Peace Foundation, the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, the Chandaria Foundation and the Kenyan government.

Its objectives are billed on its website as promoting an “African Renaissance that draws on Africa’s unique heritage and the strength of its spirituality and traditional values”, empowering African leadership, strengthening intracontinental partnerships, and cultivating“ ethical global citizenship.”

It is co-chaired by former Zanzibar President Amani Karume, the Global Peace Foundation’s International President James Flynn, Kenyan industrialist Manu Chandaria and Willybard Lagho, chair of the Interreligious Council of Kenya.

Tuesday saw day-long nationwide demonstrations led by the youth to protest President Ruto’s government’s unpopular Finance Bill 2024, which seeks to introduce more taxes.

But the demonstrations culminated in violent scenes as crowds broke through police lines and breached Parliament buildings in Nairobi after legislators passed the bill, which now awaits presidential assent to become law.

The ceremonial mace, which symbolizes the authority of the legislature, was stolen, some parts of the parliament building vandalised and a section of it set on fire.

Police fired live ammunition at the mob, killing at least five people and injuring over 30 others, according to Amnesty International.

Over 125 people were injured in the day’s events, the human rights organisation HAKI Africa said.

President William Ruto in a late evening address denounced the day’s events as treasonous and accused “organised criminals” of hijacking a “critical conversation” on the Finance Bill to cause havoc.

He vowed to crack down on the “planners, financiers, orchestrators and abetters of violence and anarchy” and deployed the military to back the police force’s security enforcement.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday urged Kenyan authorities to restrain from violence and pave the way for peaceful demonstrations.

Moussa Faki, the African Union Commission chairperson, urged stakeholders to exercise calm and welcome constructive dialogue.

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