Bigger worries than bread tax may lurk in Finance Bill

Political sensationalism aims to distract us from bigger issues

In Summary

• President was made out to look like a hero on bread issue but read between the lines

Kenyans are feeling the pinch of taxes
Kenyans are feeling the pinch of taxes

I am going to generalise and propose that we Kenyans don't read anything cover to cover. We wait for the media to summarise it and blow the headlines out of proportion. We thrive on sensationalism. That’s why politicians always take us for a ride during campaign seasons.

Before anyone tries to counter-argue, I suggest asking yourself how many proposed bills you have read thoroughly. If you have, then bless your heart, you are in the minority. Otherwise, we wait for someone to do the work, read their biased summary and take it from there.

I surmised a theory when I saw the reaction towards the Finance Bill 2024. I believe the government knows us so well that they toy with us. They already know how we react towards sensationalism, so they would put something ludicrous like increasing taxation on bread, which is a key commodity in every Kenyan household.

Meanwhile, while we are busy protesting on the streets of X (Twitter) and other social media avenues, a proposal that will affect us far worse than the bread tax is being passed in Parliament.

I am not saying this is the situation here, but as a critical individual, I could not help but notice how only three things in the entire bill were highlighted and blown out of proportion. There is something else that cemented my belief in my theory. The fact that the President spoke on the bread issue less than 12 hours after its release. How he will coincidentally look like a ‘hero’ who will stop an unjustifiable action happening to Kenyans is all part of the gimmick.

I have a sinking feeling that something far more sinister and more devastating to our tax contributions is brewing in this proposed bill. That is why they are clouding our vision with anger. Bread is life, after all.

So why don’t I read the proposed bill and find out? Because like most Kenyans, I exist in two modes: survival and holiday. Have you met Kenyans in the diaspora? They are exactly the same as Kenyans at home. It is ingrained in us to operate in survival mode. Politicians will yelp on the screens, bills and laws will be proposed and passed, but what we care about is the empty plates in front of us.

Say what you will but Kenyans are the hardest workers and hustlers to walk this earth. We are driven by the need to provide. We do what we have to do to provide for our families. In fact, we are almost always too consumed by ‘the grind’ to notice anything around us, let alone read proposed bills in their entirety.

As such, bills are proposed, Presidents come and go, governments loot and ask for more money, but we keep on grinding. Sure, increased taxes affect us deeply, but you know what else will affect us more? Not being able to provide.

We have known for far too long that protesting will not get us far, as the powers that be will have it their way in the end. We might believe that our voices matter when the increased bread tax is stricken off, but somewhere deep down that gazette is a line that will make us pay a heavier price.

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