The #Reject Revolution: When Tweets Take to the Streets. The Story of 25 Million Posts Powering Kenya's #RejectFinanceBill2024 protests"

Background on Kenya’s 2024 Finance Bill

The Kenya Finance Bill 2024/25, first tabled to parliament on May 13th, 2024, by the Finance and National Planning Committee Chairperson, Hon. Kuria Kimani, proposed to raise or introduce taxes or fees on a range of daily items and services. These included internet data, bread,cooking oil, sanitary napkins, baby diapers, digital devices, motor vehicle ownership, specialised hospitals and imported items. The proposals were part of the Kenyan government's efforts, aimed to raise an extra $2.7 billion in domestic revenue. This came a year after the passing and assent of the 2023 Finance Bill which didn’t generate the same heightened level of online discussion and discontent.

The Genesis of the #RejectFinanceBill Conversation 

TikTok has been, in Nendo’s analysis, among the single greatest influences of the #RejectFinanceBill2024 conversation with videos there reaching over 500 million views. Kenya’s youth, and particularly its “Gen Z” have been touted as the core constituency protesting, documenting, and spreading the message. The protests began on June 18th after the bill was made public and this report by Nendo is a summary of some key data from X. This report does not include Nendo’s deeper analysis into hashtags, authors, X Spaces, or TikTok’s crossover impact. 

Hashtags in this report, selected from over 50 hashtags & key phrases are: #RejectFinanceBill2024, #OccupyParliament, #RejectFinanceBill, and #RutoMustGo.

X, A Digital “Town Square” For Meeting, Organising, and Amplifying the Messages, formerly known as Twitter, has been an influential social media network where its Trending Topics and key conversations influence media, politics, governance, and public perception. All data for this report is primarily from X, analysed by Nendo. X’s smaller audience has been recorded as low as 1.87 million users in 2024 with 75% male which pales in comparison to Facebook’s 17 million users which is 56% male. Nendo estimates that during the protests, downloads of X have skyrocketed as online citizens seek to learn, contribute, share, and participate in the protests online. Nendo has previously chronicled the outsized global impact of hashtags, fundraising, protests, and activism between 2007 to 2016 by Kenyans on Twitter in From the Cyber Cafe to the Smartphone: How Kenya’s Social Media Zooms in on the Country and Out to the World by Mark Kaigwa, published in 2017.

#EndFemicideKE: A Foreshadowing for #RejectFinanceBill2024?

The #RejectFinanceBill2024 conversations built on the January 2024 #EndFemicideKE protests, following a wave of murders witnessed across Keya and reported in mainstream media. A public outcry took place that started. Nendo did an analysis of +75k posts from at the time with the updated infographics from a 120-day window seen here. The #EndFemicideKE protests featured national organising, offline push-back on elected officials who sought to participate and join them, and peaceful protests countrywide.

Women’s participation in the #EndFemicideKE hashtag, which generated over 1.8 billion impressions, was at a record with close to ⅔ of the posts, compared to the majority of conversations, which skew male because of X’s user base.

The hashtag #TotalShutdownKE featured in these January protests and has also featured in the #RejectFinanceBill2024 conversations online.

25 Million Tweets (Posts) Climaxing with #OccupyParliament on 25th June

According to Nendo’s analysis, the top anti-finance bill conversations were driven by #RejectFinanceBill2024, #OccupyParliament, and  #RutoMustGo. The analysis that follows counted 24,989,246mentions on X between 12th June and 1st July 2024. A peak in mentions was noted on Tuesday 25th June where protesters stormed into Kenya’s Parliament. Between this were abductions of content creators, online activists, and protesters that caused public outcry and pressure. Live audio conversations, known as X Spaces, took place with millions of listeners tuning in to them over numerous days and records of 59k listeners, 130k concurrent live listeners taking place.

Millions In Motion: 3 Major Hashtags, +50 Minor Hashtags and More

The conversations and hashtags ebbed and flowed from #RejectFinanceBill2024 to #OccupyParliament and are currently hinging around #RutoMustGo with various other supporting hashtags present, too.

Conversations ebbed and flowed around abductions, churches, locations, and rallying cries between content creators, their audiences, the media, and the public.

The phrases Reject, Occupy, and Free were the key ones referenced, along with a range of nicknames and catchphrases that appear upon deeper analysis.

Retweets Rule: 2% of Tweets Spread Thanks to 89% Retweets in 25m Posts

Between Wednesday 12th and Thursday 30th June 2024, from the 24,989,246 social media posts analysed by Nendo, there were 698,316 original posts by 410,508 unique authors. Within these, there were 1,891,213 replies, and 22,399,717 retweets. Original posts comprised 2.79% of the total online tweets, which gave rise to 7.57% replies and quotes and 89.64% in retweets (now known as reposts). The 90-9-1 rule of social media estimates that 90% of social media users are ‘lurkers’ who see content but do not engage, 9% of them will like, reply, retweet, bookmark, and interact, and 1% create. From this, Nendo estimates a large audience of Kenyan and global lurkers who are consuming content without interacting. For them, a critical form of activism is consumption, while for others, it is to retweet and spread the word and the message.

#RejectFinanceBill2024 From Parliament to Protests to the Presidency

The #RejectFinanceBill2024 hashtag first appeared on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday June 12th, 2024, and consistently witnessed negative sentiments outnumbering positive. Many of these included vernacular translations of the impact, clauses, corruption allegations, and frustration with the political class. As the bill went through readings and was successfully voted on and passed, as well as abductions of content creators taking place the groundswell of negative conversation peaked on Tuesday 25th June, Kenyan protesters stormed Kenya’s parliament buildings and public officials experienced backlash to themselves and some of their possessions.

#OccupyParliament From Online Protests to Offline in Parliament Buildings

The #OccupyParliament hashtag was highly mentioned as digital citizens and activists deemed the Members of Parliament not to be exercising their duty as the bill went through readings, amendments, and votes. To placate the public, various amendments were proposed or proposals dropped, however online conversations continued to grow. This was noted especially during the demonstration days, i.e., Tuesday, June 18th, 2024, Thursday, June 20th, and Tuesday, June 25th 2024. The highest mentions were noted on Tuesday 25th June, when the citizens invaded parliament buildings. Videos from TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter chronicled the entry into and around the buildings with a variety of videos and posts spreading as mainstream media chronicled the incident.

From Tax Protests to Political Overhaul:  #RutoMustGo Sentiment Rising

After nationwide protests against proposed tax hikes, President William Ruto held a press conference where he announced the withdrawal of the controversial Finance Bill. Following this, Kenyan activists circulated calls for fresh demonstrations using the hashtag #RutoMustGo. The protest movement shifted its focus from the tax increases to demanding a complete political overhaul. The initial protests were largely peaceful, but tensions escalated after the Finance Bill was passed, leading to clashes with police that turned violent. The death toll and scores injured prompting widespread unrest and anger online and offline. Protest organisers echoed calls for demonstrations to proceed to honour those killed and towards budgeted corruption, and a range of other pertinent policy issues. The conversation has shifted towards a series of demands expanding past the Executive branch of government towards national issues. A challenge for the government has been not having a single entity or leadership structure to negotiate with. Requests to engage religious leaders or different stakeholders have been met with cynicism and scepticism, with frustration among digital citizens still growing.

Want More Data & Analysis? Engage Nendo for Daily, Weekly, or Ad-Hoc Reports

Commission your own report and preferred timelines from the options below:

  1. Daily Situational Report (SitRep): A 24-hour look at social media, primarily with X (Twitter data) and enhanced analysis.
  2. Weekly Intelligence Brief: Evaluate a 7-Day Window to Examine Insights, Conversations, and Data across Social Media Platforms.
  3. Monthly Deep-Drive or Custom Reports: Based on a specific brief and set of research questions.
  4. If you would like a customised TikTok report, please get in touch with Nendo at

Corporate Inquiries: 

Media & Advisory Enquiries:Mark Kaigwa, CEO of Nendo Phone: +254722905553 Email:

Let's Interact!

The Letter N — One of Africa's Most Respected E-Mail Newsletters

Join +2,000 subscribers to The Letter N, and get founder Mark Kaigwa's 'uncommon sense' take on African Internet, online media, technology and marketing. We'll also keep you up-to-date on upcoming events, reports and insights.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again.
If this is about a project, please provide a short description. Thanks!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Discover our insights