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Connect the World

WikiLeaks Founder in Australia after Striking Plea Deal; Iranians Head to the Polls Amid Growing Anger Over Economy; U.S. Reporter on Trial in Russia for Espionage; Chinese Lunar Probe Returns from Far Side of the Moon; Kenyan President Addressing Nation after Deadly Protests; The Great Spine of Africa. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired June 26, 2024 - 09:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: Were looking at live pictures of the U.S. Supreme Court, where in just an hour, we could hear opinions on major

pending cases. Its 9 am in Washington 5 pm here in Abu Dhabi I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching "Connect the World" from our Middle East

Broadcasting Hub.

Also happening over the next two hours WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange ends a 14 years stand-off with the U.S. pleading guilty and is now home in

Australia. Kenya's President calls protesters treasonous after night of bloodshed. Iran's snap elections just days away as candidates make a final


And the stock market in New York will open at 9:30 Eastern Time, about 30 minutes from now. And if the futures markets are any indication the opening

looks weaker today. Well, Julian Assange will not give up the fight for human rights according to his wife speaking a short time ago.

WikiLeaks' Founder arrived in Australia earlier as a free man. He was briefly on U.S. soil for a hearing in a remote Pacific Island. After

pleading guilty to a single count Assange was freed on time served, thus ending a legal odyssey that stretched over more than a decade. Let's have a

listen to what Assange's lawyer said just moments ago.


JENNIFER ROBINSON, LAWYER FOR JULIAN ASSANGE: In order to achieve his freedom, and to leave the high security prison in Belmarsh he had to leave

here. He had to choose to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage for publishing evidence of U.S. war crimes, human rights abuse. Guys, it's

really hard to do this when there's so much noise going on the background. Thank you very much.

In order to win his freedom, Julian pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage for publishing evidence of U.S. war crimes, human rights abuse,

human rights abuse and U.S. wrongdoing around the world. This is journalism. This is the criminalization of journalism. And while the plea

deal does not set a judicial precedent, it's not a court decision. The prosecution itself sets a precedent that can be used against the rest of

the media.

It's important that journalists all around the world understand the dangerous precedent that this prosecution has set. An award winning

Australian Journalist who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for these publications, has spent more than five years in a high security

prison because of this extradition request from the United States.


ANDERSON: Well, a unexhausted lawyer for Julian Assange, I think it's fair to say yes, speaking there, in Australia. CNN's Nic Robertson is with us

from London. Julian Assange now back at home in -- are his legal troubles over at this point is that it Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There's no gag order on him, according to his lawyers, he -- you know needs time to rest and

recuperate. But in terms of his legal troubles, yes in this case, he is -- he is out, he is free. There will not be more cases like this coming

against them.

That's the understanding that was the nature of the plea deal. The first phone call his lawyer says he got when he landed, Julian Assange got when

he landed, came from Australia's Prime Minister, which really, I think is indicative of the amount of high level support, political support

diplomatic support that he's had through this whole process.

And the understanding that this is it, this draws a line under it, Julian Assange is back home and his lawyer says he is free to carry on with his

life as he as he so chooses. But his wife Stella really, I think, spoke to Assange's -- you know difficult as, if you will, of going through this

intense period over the last particular five years in jail in the -- in the UK, she spoke about his need to get space to recover.


STELLA ASSANGE, WIFE OF JULIAN ASSANGE: He wanted me to sincerely thank everyone. He wanted to be here. But you have to understand what he's been

through. He needs time. He needs to recuperate. And this is a process.


ROBERTSON: And she also said that Assange is still committed to helping people committed to the values of human rights, the willingness to speak

out, and I think it was quite interesting that she said that he does not feel afraid to continue raising his voice where he sees fit.

ANDERSON: He'll spend some time with his family. And as his wife rightly pointed out, he needs some time with his family. So we will pick this story

up in the days to come because we haven't heard of course from Julian Assange himself. Given how vocal he's been over the years, one would expect

to hear from him at some point, Nic, thank you.

Well, Kenya's Former President, Uhuru Kenyatta is calling for calm and restraint following Tuesday's deadly protests in Nairobi. At least five

people were killed by police in part the country's parliament was set on fire. The protests were in opposition to what is a controversial finance

bill and as the country face an ongoing cost of living crisis.


Meantime, in an address to the nation on Tuesday, current President William Ruto denounced the protesters as quote, treasonous. CNN's Larry Madowo has

been at the forefront of documenting these protests. So you are with us live in Nairobi at this time, right in the thick of things. Today things

are calmer. How do you reflect on these past few days and what we've heard from the president to date?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky we were expecting another update from President William Ruto any time now. This is the last day of the term

of the Kenyan Parliament. They go on recess until July 22. So what President Ruto has to say will be interesting, because last night in his

address after the chaotic violent day, he essentially called these protesters criminals, treasonous criminals.

And that did not go down well with these young people who said they were only armed with bottles, water bottles, they were armed with banners and

flags. And the police were armed with live bullets. And they did shoot some people there. We saw some people killed in front of Kenya's Parliament. We

were right there live on CNN, when these things were happening. And that is the anger that's still boiling over there are calls for another day of

protests tomorrow.

I'm not sure if the statement that we're expecting from President Ruto can forestall any more action from these young people on the streets of Nairobi

and across the country is going to be difficult to convince them to turn about when President Ruto did not even mentioned the finance bill in his

address last night, that's the controversial tax increases that led to all these protests in the first place, and he didn't even mention it.

ANDERSON: Larry, we'll get back to you as you rightly point out, we are expecting to hear from William Ruto again, at some point soon, as soon as

we do that, we will get back to you thank you for the time being. Well, turning to Gaza, where the rescue of four hostages by Israeli forces has

been hailed as a daring success, but one Palestinian family found itself caught in the middle of the operation suffered unimaginable loss.

Paula Hancock's pieces together the evidence to see how the ripple effects of the rescue impacted civilian lives that day and a warning her report

contains disturbing images.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the time Israeli forces leave this house in Central Gaza one woman and three children have been

shot. A 12-year-old boy clings to life. This is the story of one Gazan family caught up in the June 8th rescue four Israeli hostages being held in

Mizorat (ph).

Went up to Rahuf (ph) the grandfather and owner of the house saw tanks and special forces arrive on their street. He says his family of 14 hid in one

room in the top floor apartment. What happened next has been relayed to us by seven members of the same family in multiple interviews.

Muhammad Mata (ph) father of four says he heard the soldiers screaming shooting and throwing stun grenades downstairs. CNN has verified that this

IDF video shows troops inside the house. It appears heavily edited, but you can hear what sounds like shots fired.

They came up to the apartment the father adds shooting and saying who's here? We told them we are civilians' children and women are in this room.

The boys aren't says the Israelis came and started shooting at us. I heard someone groaning in pain. This is the blood of my son Yemen (ph) says Rasha

(ph). He was bleeding here.

As soon as the Israelis entered they shot him there were bullets in his leg and stomach. 12-year-old Yemen later died from his wounds. My son died

before my eyes and I couldn't do anything she says. He was looking at me saying mom hold me I'm bleeding. Rasha says another son -- 16 were shot in

the shoulder and stomach. She wanted to help but she says the soldiers threatened to kill them if she did.

Another shot grace the third son the bullet striking his aunt in the leg. CNN has geo located the buildings the hostages were rescued from the family

home is over a kilometer away on a likely evacuation route the Israeli military used to extract the hostages from Gaza. The IDF says the battalion

was there to secure the area during the operation.

Inside the house, the grandfather says he and Yemen's father were taken to the corridor hands tied behind their back gagged and blindfolded pointing

out the plastic head cover left behind.


The father says a soldier warned him tell me where the resistance fighters and weapons are, or I will break your heart for your children. And he did

it. He went to the room a minute later and I heard the gunshots. It's not clear if any of the family members were hit in the second round of


CNN has reached out to the IDF but they have not responded to the specific allegations. The family's testimony matches evidence CNN saw at the scene.

We've shown images of the bullet casings on the ground to weapons experts who confirmed they are Israeli manufactured.

The grandfather points to multiple bullet holes in walls, doors and furniture on different floors of the building. The family says Israeli

troops were in their home for around 45 minutes. One soldier who applied a dressing to -- shoulder wound before they left. Outside the grandfather

tries to call an ambulance. He's told they can't reach him. So the boys are loaded into a car and rushed to hospital where Yemen is pronounced dead.

Gaza Health Officials say more than 270 people were killed that day. No breakdown of fighters versus civilians. But this hospital footage shows

women and children in every corner. Israel says the death toll is far lower, blaming Hamas for hiding hostages within the civilian population one

family story one small window into a day of hell for the residents of -- Paula Hancocks, CNN Jerusalem.


ANDERSON: Well, a heart surgeon at the parliamentary speaker the mayor of Tehran three of the six men approved to run in Iran's presidential election

on Friday, but it's time runs out for the candidates to make their final pitches. Anger is growing over an economy plagued by rising prices. Plus,

the espionage trial against "Wall Street Journal" Reporter Evan Gershkovich gets underway in Russia. A live report on that is just ahead.


ANDERSON: Well, less than two days and counting until Iranians head to the polls to pick a replacement for the late President Ebrahim Raisi. Raisi and

seven others died in a helicopter crash last month. Now this snap election comes amid bubbling anger across the country over the weak economy and

inflation that has sent the cost of basic goods like meat and dairy skyrocketing.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen is live in Tehran for us. It's good to have you. As we look towards the voter turnout of course

has been historically low over the last few elections. What's the sense there Fred, that Iranians will continue to stay away from the polls?


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there Becky. Yes, participation is definitely going to be one of the big indicators

here. First of all, let me explain to you why it's so noisy I'm actually inside a campaign event of one of the main conservative candidates Mohammad


You can see behind me there, there's a children's band currently playing. We're at the tail end of that campaign event. And of course for Mohammad

Bagher Ghalibaf like for all the conservative candidates, the participation has been one of the main issues and that he gave his speech on the stage

there just a couple of minutes ago, where he urge people to get out and vote, he obviously wants them to vote for him. But he said going out and

voting is important for this entire political system here.

There is a sense of a turnout could be a little higher than the last election when of course when Ebrahim Raisi was elected, because there is

still a moderate candidate that is in the race. You recall, years ago, when Ebrahim Raisi was elected there are no moderates who are still in the final

candidates up for vote.

Now you have one pilot -- one moderate candidate who's left in the field. His name is Masoud Pezeshkian. We're going to go to a rally of his a little

bit later today. But that the authorities here will cause more people to come out and vote. There are a lot of things that are already going on your

alliances being forged.

Certainly that campaign event that we were just that for Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf one of the main conservative candidates, he counts as one of the

front runners, as you can really feel here in Tehran at these events and on the street. That right now, crunch time in this election is coming closer.

And you're also absolutely correct to point out that, of course, the economy is one of the main issues, inflation, rising prices, unemployment

and how to deal with that, of course, all of that, with the backdrop of those massive sanctions Iran is under by the U.S. and by allied countries


ANDERSON: Yeah, Fred Pleitgen is on the ground in Tehran, it's good to have you, Fred. Thank you. Well, all six of Iran's presidential hopefuls have

pledged to try to have Western sanctions on Iran lifted during their fourth of five televised debates this week, which focus on foreign policy. The men

also because they are all men also promised better relations with neighboring nations and urged fellow Iranians to turn out for the election.

Well, our next guest is an Iranian Journalist who writes on foreign policies. He has covered Iran's nuclear talks with world powers for more

than a decade. He's also a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Middle East Strategic Studies. It's good to have Abas Aslani joining us now

live from Tehran. Sir, let's start with that question that I started to Fred with, what's the likely turnout? What's the mood at this point around

these elections and the appetite?

ABAS ASLANI, IRANIAN JOURNALIST: Well Becky, thank you for having me. In fact, the turnout is somehow, according to some polls -- you know those who

have decided to vote is around 45 to 50 percent but there are people who have not yet decided whether they will be voting or not.

And it seems that the debates and the political campaigns which are being held and this is the final day and might be able to relatively impact. They

will have some -- you know the basis specifically among the reformist. It seems that the major competition is taking place between two conservative

candidates and a reformist one.

And -- you know at the 11th hour, there are questions whether conservatives will be able to create a coalition or not? If they are not able to do so

this will increase the chance of the reformist candidate. So and if you know -- there are hopes in the reformist space, this might be able to

relatively increase the turnout level in the -- on Friday.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about what people will vote on. There are a number of key issues facing Iranians currently, the economy, social restrictions,

water scarcity, and the environment. Other candidates made convincing arguments about their abilities to deal with these issues and enact some

sort of change.

This has been an economy as it were in free fall. And we can talk about the impact of the sanctions because that is really important. But ultimately,

there are some really important and effective needs that need addressing at this point.


ASLANI: Becky, you know, the number one issue is the economic issues related to the daily lives of the people. What they want to see

improvements in their daily lives, and in order to be able to buy commodities, specifically at the time that the country has been under


So the other issues also have included -- you know foreign policy related issues, including working with other countries, in the region with Eastern

powers, as well as some Western states as well. There have been some promises by the candidates in the debates or political campaigns.

But it seems that this time, people are not looking for a messiah or a candidate who will be a savior -- you know giving some -- you know

unrealistic promises to them. But they will be looking for a candidate or president, which seems who seems a rational one, and we'll see --

incremental progress in the country.

Because they think that it seems that the people are -- you know tired of hearing -- you know bigger slogans, and they have heard -- you know

repetitive -- you know mottos in the past. But what they want to see is, I think, even a gradual progress in their economic issues, as well as to see

improvements in their daily lives.

And also, we have been hearing from different candidates on issues related to the nuclear deal on open -- opening up to the world, as well as

cooperating with other countries in the region.

ANDERSON: And it is a very different place, isn't it? It's a very different region from that which existed, even back in 2021, when Ebrahim racy was

elected. We've got the kind of -- you know the -- with Saudi interaction with the UAE where I am, and aside from the Supreme Leader speaking out

yesterday saying that he believes in interaction with the whole world bar, a couple.

And you have to assume he's talking about Israel and the U.S. there. We have -- you know -- we are living in, in a very different region navigating

a new Middle East at this point. I wonder how people feel about what the Supreme Leader has said and who they identify as the most likely to be able

to work with the region, and for example, Europe, China, Russia, going forward?

ASLANI: Becky you know what? The leader said yesterday could be applicable to different candidates. He tried not to explicitly refer to any specific

candidate. But you know speaking of -- you know engagement with the world. Once you know President Rouhani, he tried to argue that the country needs

to clinch a nuclear agreement, including the United States.

And they were able to make an accord in 2015. But a few years later, the United States withdrew from the deal. So that's why the same promise will

not work in the same way this time. And the reformist presidential candidate Masoud Pezeshkian, he has been trying to focus engagement with

the world.

He has been trying not to only you know focus on the word of the term West, but the world, which includes the region, Western power Eastern powers as

well as -- you know some Western states as well. So that's why we have -- we have to put this into context where the country has been talking about -

- East policy, which seems to be a strategic perspective, what the country.

And even if we have a reformist president in office, I think this cooperation with ease with regional countries will continue. And I think

with the new president offers specifically reformist one may be or a moderate one, there will be efforts made to -- you know improve relations

with the West more specifically with European countries.

But -- you know there are questions about this, because the policies that Tehran have been seeing in the past few years, has not been in line in this


ANDERSON: Yeah, it's good to have you. We'll get back to you as we begin to see this voting happen and a result in these elections. Thank you. Well,

the trial for a U.S. reporter facing espionage charges in Russia kicked off earlier today.

Evan Gershkovich was arrested in March of late last year and later accused of spying for the CIA. Gershkovich the U.S. government and his paper "The

Wall Street Journal" via mentally deny the charges against him. No reporters' family members or U.S. embassy staffs are allowed inside the

courtroom during his trial.


If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. Well, CNN's Clare Sebastian following this story for us. She's joining us today from London

since there is no impartial access to the trial. Is there Clare any indication this will be a fair one?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, I can tell you the U.S. government certainly doesn't think so. Let's look at a portion of a

statement that came out today from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. They said his case is not about evidence, procedural norms or the rule of law. It is

about the Kremlin using American citizens to achieve its political objectives.

Russia should stop using individuals like Evan Gershkovich or Paul Whelan as bargaining chips -- they should both be released immediately. So that

makes it pretty clear that they believe Russia is doing this for political purposes. And obviously, we see the evidence around the trial itself.

The prosecution hasn't made public any evidence to support their claim that he was acting on behalf of the CIA or collecting secrets about a Russian

tank factory. The prosecutor himself came out and spoke to the media but didn't actually take any questions. It was just a brief statement.

As you said, there's been barely any consider access at this trial or even frankly, in the lead up to it over the past 15 months of pretrial

detention. And of course, the political climate provides a motive for Russia to want to convict him.

This is Becky the first time that we've seen American journalists accused of espionage since the Cold War. It was very jarring today for those who

are reporting in Moscow or whoever have reported in Russia to see him in that glass box that Russians affectionately referred to as the aquarium his

head shaved and although he appeared calm and collected even smiled at one point, it's clear that the last 15 months have been quite an ordeal.

ANDERSON: I mean he has appeared calm and collected throughout this ordeal. You can only imagine what's going on for him inside thank you. All right,

we're going to take a very short break back after this. And coming up what we can learn from the dark side of the Moon I'll discuss China's historic

lunar probe now back on Earth and what it means for space exploration? I've got the Deputy Director General the UAE's Space Station -- Space Agency

with me more on that coming up.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. Well, that is Wall Street's New York Stock Exchange. It's 9:30 in the morning there. And that is the opening bell and

they are out of the gate and off to the races, as it were. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, where the time is half past five in the afternoon.

You're watching "Connect the World".

And the Futures markets were indicating a slightly weaker opening today and that is pretty much what we have got not significantly so between a quarter

and an eighth of 1 percent lowers. NVIDIA keep an eye on that stock. It's been having a bit of a time event after its enormous acceleration of late

that stock has been off somewhat and it does tend to drag that tech heavy NASDAQ with it.

This week, China made history by successfully collecting the first ever samples from the far side of the Moon. You can see here where the -- made

to Chang'e 6 sorry Module made landfall in Inner Mongolia. This was a key milestone in what Chinese President Xi Jinping called the eternal dream to

become a dominant space power.

Beijing has plans to send astronauts to the moon by 2030 and to build a research base at the Lunar South Pole where they took those samples from.

Well, the UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed offered his congratulations wishing China quote, ongoing success in furthering our scientific

understanding of the solar system and advancing humanity's progress.

Well, here with me in the studio is his Excellency Ibrahim Al Qasim; he is the Deputy Director General of the UAE Space Agency. Walk me through, if

you will, the significance of the mission. We've seen some of the pictures here. What are scientists around the world hope to learn from these


IBRAHIM AL QASIM, DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL, UAE SPACE AGENCY: Well Becky, thanks for having me. I think this is a great achievement for humanity. I

think, if we break it down from a scientific perspective, this is extremely interesting, because so far all the samples that have been returned from

the moon have been from the near side of the Moon.

So that's the first time we get some samples, some moon dust and rocks from the far side of the moon. And the moon is a very important, I think piece

in our deep space exploration of our solar system, in that it's not only a stepping stone to Mars, but it's potentially a resource rich, celestial

body that we could exploit in the future.

So looking for things like ice like helium three, like some of the rare metals here on Earth, that could actually help fuel our industries would be

I think the objective of some of these missions. The moon is of great interest, not only for China, for the U.S., Russia, but I think over the

next six years, we expect to have more than 100 missions heading to the moon.

ANDERSON: The UAE President talked about the sharing of information, the advancing of humanity. How does this information sharing happen? I mean,

this is -- there's a big -- there's a big space race out there. And this is a global race, how much real information sharing is going on?

QASIM: So from a scientific perspective, there's a lot of it that happens. I think science communities around the world have extremely well connected

I mean, in their respective disciplines, whether they're -- you know planetary scientists -- physicists.

And missions like that tend to be very open in terms of the analysis of these data. Maybe on the technological aspect, it's a little more

challenging to collaborate on. I think this mission also demonstrates the advanced capabilities that China's space program has arrived to an end.

You'd expect China to become a bigger player in space, and more and more countries would want.

ANDERSON: Do both -- I mean, let's talk about China's ambitions everybody's ambitions at this point when both the U.S. and China are looking to set up

research bases as I understand it, and the -- on the South Pole. How does this mission advanced that goal and what more is needed at this point? How

does a country like the UAE play into what is going on at present?

QASIM: So the UAE is a signatory in fact one of the first signatories to the Artemis Accords. And it's an ever growing group of countries from

around the world that have come to agree on a set of principles on setting some standard sort of protocols and safety measures for exploration of

space for de-confliction.


And we've also committed with a fifth country within that consortium to commit to building hardware for the Lunar Gate Program, which will be a

station, a space station closer to the moon. And so we're very committed to that program, it seems the moon is again, very, very interesting body for

many countries around the world. And spaces heart and space is very expensive. So it's a good idea to do it together.

ANDERSON: OK. And before we talk about more broadly about the advancements of China's sort of overall space sort of ambitions, I do just want to get

for our viewers a little bit more detail on the UAE's sort of ambition in space, because I think you've been involved since what 2013. I've been

living here since then. And as long as I've been living here, we've been talking about the space ambitions. Can you just explain very briefly what

those ambitions are?

QASIM: So this year, I think marks the 27th year of the UAE, the beginning of the UAE Space Program. We have been users of the space -- space data for

the longest time operators of space hardware since 1997 and then designers and developers of the technology by 2006.

Space has always been a mechanism for the UAE government to build science and technology capabilities to grow a much more resilient and knowledge

based economy. And it seems like we are at a tipping point where the government is taking a step back, and you see more and more investments

from the private sector.

Now we spoke earlier about the Space Economic Zone initiative that we've sort of deployed across country. We're very impressed in less than two

years we're more than 200 companies registered in it, anything from you know, data, space data analytics companies to launch vehicle, you know, to

companies that actually successfully tested liquid fuel rocket engines last week? So it's seems like the investments over the last 27 years have gotten

to a point where the maturity level is really pushed the development.

ANDERSON: You must get asked this a lot. How concerned should those watching this be about this space race it's being fueled at present? Just

how worried should people be, if at all? And second question to you are we -- are we sure that as we spend more time in space, we are not actually

being destructive, rather than constructive for both space and for those of us down on Earth?

QASIM: Very important question. So in terms of the sustainability of space environment, you're right, you touched upon something that's extremely

important. First of all, to answer the first part of the question, I don't think we should be worried, I think we should be very -- we should

appreciate how fast technology is evolving.

We're actually moving towards an era where we no longer are contained with the resources on Earth. And we could potentially start exploiting our solar

system a time of abundance, if you'd like and a time where we could leverage the sector to really resolve a lot of these global challenges,

including climate change.

But putting together a sustainable model, where -- you know learning from climate change, having a model where we don't allow ourselves to create too

much space debris, and make it extremely expensive and near impossible to intervene at a later stage. I think this is the value of developing accords

like the Artemis Accord and making sure that we're well coordinated it.

ANDERSON: Good to have you.

QASIM: Pleasure to be here.

ANDERSON: I'm going to stop this interview here because we've got President Ruto speaking about what has been going on in Kenya. I need to get to that

very much appreciate you coming in having you here it's been very useful your analysis and insights so important. Thank you very much indeed.

QASIM: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Let's get you to Nairobi, Kenya's President addressing the nation following deadly protests in Nairobi on Tuesday and some of the days before

that. Let's listen in.

WILLIAM RUTO, KENYAN PRESIDENT: That it be reduced by 200 billion to come down to 303.99 trillion. The Finance Bill 2024 generated to actualize this

budget underwent public participation, which resulted to concessions by which we agreed to drop proposals on VAT on -- motor vehicles speculation

tax VAT on locally manufactured diapers and sanitary pads, as well as excise duty on money transfer services, among others.

The additional tax measures we had proposed in this year's finance bill were to raise money in the tune of 346 billion.


When the concessions were made subsequent to public participation that was undertaken by Parliament that came down to 200 billion I had made this

proposal taking into account our situation and the priorities that are there.

I want to thank the members of parliament seated behind me and those who voted yes for identifying the priority areas of our nation. Because when I

made the proposals to Parliament, with my cabinet, we had certain critical priorities for the nation.

Number one is our agriculture. We did make recommendation, and part of the money we were going to raise from the finance bill was 10 billion shillings

that will go to fertilizer subsidy 18 billion shillings that would go to making sure that junior secondary school teachers 46 of them -- 46,000 of

them would be confirmed on permanent and pensionable basis.

We are very clear in our minds, that education being the greatest equalizer, no child in Kenya should go to a school where there is no

teacher or that where there are no adequate teachers. It is because of that reason, that in this finance bill also, we had committed to hire an extra

20,000 teachers.

We also had envisioned because of the program of last mile connectivity to homes, especially in rural areas. We had committed 14.5 billion shillings

15 million for every constituency for their last mile connectivity. Because we realize that there are many people who today cannot go to hospital

because they cannot afford because they have no health insurance.

We had committed 6 billion shillings to operationalize our universal health coverage plan that would make it possible for every citizen to have a

health insurance, those who cannot afford to be paid for by the Government of Kenya and to also operationalize the chronic illness fund that will make

it possible for those who suffer from cancer, diabetes, hypertension, to be able to go to hospital, be treated and go home without being asked for any


We also had planned to put in money for our coffee farmers to retire the heavy debts that are bedeviling our coffee farmers. We also had allocated

money for our sugarcane farmers to make sure that our sugarcane farmers get out of the debt that they're in.

We have also committed to our milk farmers 2 billion shillings to make sure that every farmer is paid a minimum of 50 shillings per liter to make sure

that these farmer very hard working citizens of our nation to get a fair return for their hard work and for feeding our nation.

And that is why I commend these members of parliament for agreeing with us that all the priority areas I have mentioned were the right priorities to

be funded.


And by so doing, they supported the proposal to incorporate also the views of the people. These members of parliament came back to us after they went

to listen to the people of Kenya. And they came back and reduced the budget on their own to by 146 billion shillings.

Notwithstanding all these concessions, it has become evident that members of the public still insist on the need for us to make more concessions and

because I run a government, but I also lead people. And the people have spoken.

I am grateful to all the members of the National Assembly who voted yesterday affirmatively for the Finance Bill 2024, as amended on the floor

of the House to incorporate the views generated through public participation.

And following the passage of the bill, the country witnessed widespread expression of dissatisfaction with a bill as passed, regrettably resulting

in the loss of life, destruction of property and disintegration of constitutional institutions.

On my own behalf and on behalf of these members and many other Kenyans, I send my condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones, in

this very unfortunate manner. Consequently having reflected on the continuing conversation around the content of the Finance Bill 2024 and

listening keenly, to the people of Kenya, who have said loudly, that they want nothing to do with his Finance Bill 2024, I concede.

And therefore, I will not sign the 2024 Finance Bill and it shall subsequently be withdrawn. And I have agreed with these members that

becomes our collective position.


Accordingly, there is need for us as a nation to pick up from here and go into the future. And I am therefore proposing that because we have gotten

rid of the Finance Bill 2024. It is necessary for us to have a conversation as a nation going forward. How do we manage the affairs of the country

together? How do we manage our debt situation together? How do we work on the budget with a deficit that now exists together?

And as I committed last Sunday, I will be proposing an engagement with the young people of our nation. Our sons and daughters, for us to listen to

them, as I said on Sunday, listen to their views. Listen to their proposals, their ideas, their concerns.

ANDERSON: Well, CNN's Larry Madowo has been at the forefront of documenting what have been these protests. He is live in Nairobi listening to the

president there conceding that the 2024 Finance Bill is dead. It's been withdrawn. And he is reaching out to the young people of Kenya he says to

work on the future together. What do you make of what you've just heard from the President Larry?

MADOWO: It's a total admission that the young people of Kenya were right that they cannot afford more taxes and they wanted him to reject the bill

in whole not just certain amendments.


They wanted this Finance bill to be rejected in whole, and they made their voices heard here in Nairobi, and across the nation. And President Ruto

could have said this last night and his national address where he called these same people criminals. President Ruto could have said this on Sunday

when he promised to engage these young people, but he didn't.

And because of that people died yesterday, shot by police, in fact, outside Kenya's Parliament, and it all led to this moment where he's made admitting

that the young people and the people of Kenya have said they can't afford any more taxes. And he has to withdraw the Finance Bill that was

recommended by his own government, Becky.

They were trying to raise an extra $2.6 billion after public participation. They reduced some of those. They made some concessions and reduced the

target to about $1.5 billion, and that people still said no. And finally, sitting in front of the members of parliament, his party is a majority of

the National Assembly and the Senate. He is finally where the people wanted him to be weeks ago to reject this bill.

ANDERSON: This is certainly a very conciliatory, William Ruto. I wonder as a president whether this has gone further than just the Finance Bill. Has

it gone beyond that for this president? Is that a -- is that a reasoning do you think that William Ruto has come to?

MADOWO: I think President Ruto realizes that the anger and the frustration, the disillusionment across the country is significant. And it goes beyond

just this Finance Bill. The Finance Bill was a trigger. But there are so many people for whom the cost of living has become unbearable. They just

needed this finance deal to finally express themselves.

And some of the people I was speaking to on the streets yesterday told me this is no longer about the Finance Bill, we reject William Ruto. Obviously

that is a long way to go. He was elected on a popular mandate. He still has a lot of support across the country.

But people are deeply dissatisfied with how his government has run things. His own advisers, including from his Council of Economic Advisers, were on

social media ridiculing these young people telling them that they were digital, a word that I cannot use on air. And now the president's admitting

that you were right all along, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you Larry thank you. We're taking a break back after this.


ANDERSON: This week "Call to Earth" embarks on an epic mission with South African explorer Steve Boyce as part of the "Rolex Perpetual Planet

Initiative". He's on a multi-year expedition across Africa to document its inland river basins. Today we start our journey in Northern Zambia the

further source to one of the continents mightiest rivers.





BOYCE: This is the source water the Congo River. This is the biggest river in Africa, one of the biggest in the world, it's our Amazon. This water

supports the largest carbon sink on the planet right now globally important. And, you know, all rivers are born at their sources.

Well, the security comes from the sources. It's the under -- it's just water. Sources are infested with its saturated and have some form of water

storage and water tiles of Africa, the Great Spine of Africa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): "Call to Earth" Guest Editor Steve Boyce has dedicated his life to exploration and the science of Africa's

freshwater systems. Having said comprehensive scientific baselines across the length and breadth of the Aka Vango (ph), Steve now plans to do the

same for the remaining five inland river basins of Africa this MBZ, the Nile, Chad, Niger and the largest of them all, the Congo.

The Congo Basin stretches across 3.4 million square kilometers of the continent, barreling through the borders of up to 10 countries, but its

further source is the Chambeshi, in the northern corner of Zambia. Steve and his team are the first scientific expedition to ever attempt to trip

down the length of this river.

BOYCE: I was nervous before coming to look at the water. I'm excited now. It looks like a beautiful rive. I'm just getting to know the Congo system.

And it's something I don't recognize. You don't recognize the trees. You don't recognize the birds. It just becomes foreign.

There's magic, there's mythology, there's power to these rivers. It's the unknown, and that's every single corner. And typically of these rivers, no

one's ever photographed them. There's no record of what they are, we produce that in the end. Of course, I'm nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Along the water, the stream of data is relentless. Every bird, settlement, boat, bridge anything that can be seen

from the river is recorded by the team, creating a comprehensive snapshot of the ecosystem. Throughout the journey, the team is recording 360 degree

imagery and stopping at regular intervals to do environmental DNA sampling and fish biodiversity monitoring.

BOYCE: As the expedition researcher I'm responsible for collecting all of the data that we need from this trip, the EDNA will show us what the

aquatic diversity is in the river. In some of these rivers it's even though I've studied fish, the diversity is incredible. And there are not many

people in the world you actually know all the fish that we're collecting. So we often find new species or new subspecies of fish. And the Chambeshi

River in particular is very poorly sampled with regards to fish diversity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (voice-over): Bat recordings are also collected every night. And flow measurements are conducted to see how the river is evolving

as it makes its way across the country.

BOYCE: And it's not just going down and taking pictures and looking and meeting people. These are the most detailed hydrological, ecological river

baselines ever undertaken anywhere on Earth. And we're doing this for future scientists.

STEPHEN MBEWE, RESEARCHER, GREAT SPINE OF AFRICA: Most of our institutions here in the country find that they lucky resources. Nothing more we study

like what Chambeshi been done. So it's a very, very, very great opportunity for Zambian researchers to pick it up from here.


ANDERSON: Well, for more from Steve and his team tune in to "Call to Earth" "The Great Spine of Africa" this weekend on CNN, we'll be right back.