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Mombasa residents honour protesters killed during anti-tax demos on Saba Saba Day

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Photos of historic figures like Dedan Kimathi, Khalid Balala, and Tom Mboya adorned the park, serving as a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle for justice.

On a sombre Sunday, residents of Mombasa gathered in large numbers at Uhuru Gardens Park to commemorate Saba Saba Day by honouring their fallen colleagues, who lost their lives during recent demonstrations.

The park was a sea of candles, with flickering flames lighting up the night as people remembered their friends and colleagues, whom they called "fallen soldiers."

Photos of historic figures like Dedan Kimathi, Khalid Balala, and Tom Mboya adorned the park, serving as a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle for justice.

A resident, Johnson Chivenda, articulated the deep sense of loss and solidarity among the youth.

“I am here with my fellow youths to mourn the friends we lost last week during the demonstrations. Today, we are here to mourn together as youths and with the parents who have lost their children. We are here to cry with our generation, who will be our leaders of tomorrow,” he said.

Mombasa yuth at Uhuru Gardens Park. (Photo: Farhiya Hussein)

Activist Bradley Ouna spoke passionately about the issues that had driven so many to the streets.

“Today, we are here to mourn those who were fighting against the Finance Bill. We participated in public forums to give our opinions and told them that the bill was oppressive to Kenyans but they turned a blind eye and did not listen to us. For example, putting 16% VAT on bread, which is a daily necessity, and increasing car taxes by 2.5%. We told the budget committee, but they ignored us,” Ouna said.

Sonyia Britts, representing Generation X, stood in solidarity with the younger generation. “The difference between Saba Saba in 1990 and today is not much. The only difference I see is Generation Z. They understand what is happening, and we are only fighting for our rights in a peaceful demonstration,” she said, highlighting the continuity of the struggle across generations.

Pendo, another attendee, spoke with anger about the loss of young lives. “The young youths are dying because they spoke their voices. They did not have any weapons, they did not take away anybody’s life but ended up dying. Like Rex, who was killed in cold blood. The person who calls himself the president did not even go to sympathise with the family,” she said.

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