Azimio directs troops to shoot down Ruto Finance Bill, hints return of demos

Azimio leaders term the proposed taxes punitive, claim the Bill will impoverish Kenyans.

In Summary

• Ruto had on May 3 called on Parliament to expedite passage of NADCO Bills.

• Azimio wants the Bills concluded within the next two months.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga chairs a Parliamentary Group Convention at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation offices on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.
Azimio leader Raila Odinga chairs a Parliamentary Group Convention at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation offices on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.
Image: ODM/X

Azimio la Umoja has directed its members to shoot down the proposed Finance Bill, 2024, as it hints the possible return of street protests if the ‘punitive’ document is passed.

The coalition also issued a two-month ultimatum within which the eight Bills accompanying the National Dialogue Committee (Nadco) report must be finalised.

The coalition leadership, led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, termed the proposed taxes contained in the Finance Bill as punitive, warning they risk impoverishing Kenyans.

The former Vice President said the Bill must be rejected. He threatened the coalition will have no option but resort to nationwide demonstrations if it is railroaded in Parliament.

"As a coalition, we are ready to go back to the streets if that is what it takes. I hope you are bold enough. Be ready ladies and gentlemen," Kalonzo said.

"If you feel a little weak that you think you can't withstand another round of demonstrations, then go eat something strong because we need you and this country needs you."

The Finance Bill, 2024 was published on May 9 and is set to be subjected to public participation. Members of the public have up to May 28, to give their views on the proposals.

The Bill contains tax proposals the Kenya Kwanza government wants to use to raise revenue and finance its ambitious projects.

One of the proposals is the introduction of a Motor Vehicle Tax, at a rate of 2.5 per cent of the vehicle's value.

The minimum tax payable to the commissioner on each vehicle at the time of issuance of insurance cover will be Sh5,000, with a maximum amount of Sh100,000.

Kalonzo was speaking on Wednesday during Azimio Parliamentary Group meeting at Nairobi’s Stanley hotel.

The meeting was also attended by Jubilee secretary general Jeremiah Kioni, ODM deputy party leaders Wycliffe Oparanya and Hassan Joho and a host of the coalition’s MPs.

Opposition chief Raila Odinga, Narc Kenya boss Martha Karua, DAP-K leader Eugene Wamalwa and Roots Party leader George Wajackoyah did not attend.

The meeting was meant to take the legislators through the content of the eight Bills that accompanied the Nadco report.

The coalition also expressed its frustrations on the pace the bicameral House is taking in considering the key Bills.

The call comes days after President William Ruto also instructed Parliament to expedite the passage of the Nadco Bills.

“The Nadco report has been hanging somewhere in Parliament. I do not know at which stage the report is but is seems to be moving slowly. Speed it up,” Ruto said on May 3 during the celebration of NG-CDF 20 years of existence.

“The report seems stuck as you are drinking tea in Parliament.”

Kioni, while accusing Kenya Kwanza of acting in bad faith in the enactment of the Bills, told the coalition lawmakers not to be compromised but to stand for the people of Kenya.

“Kenya Kwanza is not committed to fulfilling all the promises, including enacting the Bills,” he said.

“Parliament is our last line of defence, if you go to bed with Kenya Kwanza then there is no other hope. Don’t lie to us that you are going for projects.”

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star