BURDENING TAXPAYERS

Uhuru's legacy projects are like Pharaohs pyramids in Egypt

Is this housing scheme really for workers’ interests?

In Summary

• When the government allows the cost of living, fuel prices and unemployment to continue increasing in whatever name, one wonders whether leaders are aware of class revolutions that unfolded in Algeria and Sudan.

•  Legacies must not be an end in themselves. They must be defined by the people and in pursuance of their interests.

Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and other leaders during the Anti-Corruption Conference at the Bomas of Kenya on January 25, 2019
Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and other leaders during the Anti-Corruption Conference at the Bomas of Kenya on January 25, 2019
Image: COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government has imposed a 1.5 per cent house tax on every public or private worker to be topped by an equal amount from every employer for every employee.

The tax was unexpected and shocking given the high cost of living plaguing Kenyans, who are already burdened. We are just from another struggle against a 16 per cent fuel VAT, whose repercussions Uhuru managed to deflect by reducing it to eight per cent. A myriad taxes and prices have, however, continued to rise as if those paying them do not matter at all.

When the government allows the cost of living, fuel prices and unemployment to continue increasing in whatever name, one wonders whether leaders are aware of class revolutions that unfolded in Algeria and Sudan. Young and old victims of dictatorship and poverty, not only drove presidents Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Omar al Bashir out of the presidency but are also calling for the removal for all those who served in older regimes.

They overthrew systems that killed people, generated unemployment and plunged the countries into incredible pain, ruin and despair. When leaders ignore growing problems, are they not pushing Kenyans to look at revolution as a possible solution for their problems?

Charging Sh1 million for a one-roomed house, two-roomed for Sh2 million and three-roomed for Sh3 million is very expensive for workers.

The housing levy will raise all the money tender winners will require to build the houses without raising necessary capital themselves. The only capital tender winners will need to build these houses will be the contracts. So the housing scheme will not only be for Uhuru’s legacy but also to enrich people with the right contacts, thereby enhancing graft.

Is this housing scheme really for workers’ interests?

To ensure workers’ interests are protected, the government must eradicate some certain inconsistencies. The scheme must not be to enrich certain people. It should be voluntary, not compulsory or imposed. If one has a house, one should not be forced to build or buy another one by force. Kenyans must be consulted if they are to embrace the project.

This project should not belong to the government, Uhuru or the Jubilee party but the people. Further, Uhuru’s legacy must serve Kenyans, not for his glory. Citizens must not sacrifice lives for a legacy because some will be enslaved and killed building just as it happened to the Egyptians constructing pyramids, the legacy of Pharaohs.

 Legacies must not be an end in themselves. They must be defined by the people and in pursuance of their interests. Only then can building legacies not hurt people. This is why SGR maybe a great project, but if it is not built to serve the interests of the people, they will inevitably be hurt.

To build colonial economies, our parents had to bear the burden of head and hut taxes, which they had to pay or go to jail. But since leaders don’t feel need to consult or persuade their people, after house tax, we fear it will be followed by manufacturing tax, food security tax and expansion of hospital tax to attain Uhuru’s legacy.

And where is the Sh700 billion thieves steal from us every year? Why can’t this money be recovered and used to implement all the pillars of the Big Four agenda?

When I first heard about the Big Four, I thought Uhuru and his government had money to finance it. I now know better. Despite it enriching and glorifying Uhuru and his friends, it is you and me who will pay for everything. From where will I get the energy to resist or build Uhuru’s pyramids?