• The piece titled "The Tax Poem" by an unknown author lists a number of unrealistic tax measures, including one on those who dare to think.
• Raila has been critical of the Kenya Kwanza regime on a number of fronts including what he terms as excessive taxation of an already struggling population.
Azimio leader Raila Odinga on Thursday launched a subtle attack on President William Ruto's tax regime by sharing a poem on Twitter suggestive of extreme tax measures.
The piece titled "The Tax Poem" by an unknown author lists a number of unrealistic tax measures, including one on those who dare to think.
"Tax his food, tax his drink, tax him if he tries to think," it says.
"Tax his sodas, tax his beers. If he cries, tax his tears."
Raila has been critical of the Kenya Kwanza regime on a number of fronts including what he terms as excessive taxation of an already struggling population that's weighed down by the high cost of living.
He cited excessive taxation by the Ruto administration among the reasons that prompted him to call for weekly mass protests in March, alongside calls for electoral justice and respect for democracy.
Ruto call for a truce via a parliamentary process but the resultant bipartisan talks are on the brink of collapse with the Azimio la Umoja camp accusing the government side of assuming a hardliner stance on issues raised.
The standoff emerged amid an ongoing plan by the government to amend the Finance Bill, 2023 and introduce a number of tax measures aimed at expanding the tax base.
Among the proposals is to introduce 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products from the current rate of eight per cent.
Human hair, wigs, false beards, eyebrows, eyelashes and artificial nails will also attract a five per cent excise duty.
Once the Bill becomes an Act, insurance compensation will also begin to attract VAT, something the poem Raila shared captures in a comical way.
"Tax his bills, tax his gas. Tax his notes, tax his cash...tax his coffin tax his grave. Put these words upon his grave "Tax drove me to my doom."
"And when he is gone, we won't relax. We'll still be after the inheritance tax."
Azimio under Raila's stewardship has vehemently opposed the proposed tax measures terming them oppressive.
"Sometimes, you can milk a cow too much until only blood comes out. You promised to fight for hustlers, now mama mbogas are being oppressed as they go about their mama mboga businesses,” Raila said on May 12 during the burial of former Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria’s mother-in-law Mary Nyambura in Murang'a County.
"Punda emechoka (the donkey is tired)," Raila said, in reference to overtaxed Kenyans.
Ruto and his allies have, however, defended the proposed tax measures saying it's the only way Kenyans will free themselves from overreliance on debt.
During a debate on the Finance Bill on Tuesday, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said paying taxes is inescapable and is as definite as death.
"Madam speaker there are two things in life that you are sure of, either death or payment of tax," the senator said.